Icons of England
  • Introduction
  • The Icons
  • Nominations
  • News
  • Learn & Play
  • Your Comments

Mersey Ferry

934 of 1160 nominations


Mersey Ferry

Is this an icon?


Mersey Ferry

Ferries have been taking passengers across the River Mersey for almost 850 years, linking Liverpool with the Wirral to the west. Yet the ferry only achieved iconic status in 1964, when Gerry Marsden wrote Ferry Cross The Mersey, a massive hit for his band, the Pacemakers. This is a love song to Marsden's home city, whose distinctive skyline is best seen from the ferry. The title, often misunderstood to mean “Ferry across the Mersey”, is actually an appeal addressed to the ship, which Marsden is asking to take him home: “So ferry, cross the Mersey, ’cos this land’s the place I love, and here I’ll stay.” His promise to stay might be taken as a dig at the Beatles, who had left Liverpool for London in 1963, when ‘Beatlemania’ swept the nation.

The most famous Mersey ferry was the Royal Iris II, which offered “riverboat shuffle” dance cruises up and down the Mersey from the early 1950s until 1990, when she was sold to become a floating casino in Wales. Both Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Beatles played a number of times on the Iris, linking the Mersey ferry even more strongly with Liverpool’s vibrant 1960s music scene.


Your comments

the most well known icon in Merseyside, there is even a song about it "ferry across the mersey"

Paul Gerrard

The three ships that operate the ferries now all date back to the early 'sixties: they are truly historic vessels. The nomination citation talks of the Royal Iris II: actually, it's the Royal Iris III, a revolutionary diesel electric ship of 1952, which is currently languishing derelict next to the Thames Barrier. A must for saving!
Thom Gorst

Although never having been on the ferry despite a 9 year period in the UK I have recently found out that my father was evacuated from Dunkirk on the Daffodil. I thus feel some kind of connection with this vessel.
Peter Smith

View All Comments (8)



I nominate the red pillar box.

Donna Spencer