Richard Henry Hooper (known as Harry) Hooper was born 1865 and was a successful local business man who lived in the large house known as ” Knollwood” in Gayton. We don’t know much about Mr Hooper but a sign passed by hundreds of motorists everyday between Barnston Road and Brimstage Road advises us that in 1930 he presented the pinewoods at the Gayton roundabout to the parish of Gayton ‘for the use of the public in perpetuity’.
His house at “Knollwood” in Well Lane Gayton is still standing today; a local landmark for its very fine entrance gates which are from the former Birkenhead Woodside Railway Station which closed in 1967.
Mr Hooper was clearly a keen golfer as he was Captain of Heswall Golf Club in 1912. He died on the 4th May, 1936.
Today the pinewoods are maintained by Wirral Council as well as a local resident who tidies the area on a regular basis. The woods are no longer solely pine woods with other deciduous trees now growing.
The woods are an oasis of calm between two busy roads and have benches laid out for sitting on. Many of the timbers have rotted on the benches and the local Rotary Club have replaced most of them.
I wandered through them one very sunny late afternoon a few weeks ago when the bluebells were still in flower.
Thank you Mr Hooper for leaving to the community to enjoy …in perpetuity.