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Situated in the Wirral, facing across the Mersey towards Liverpool, the town of Birkenhead was the site of Britain's first ever publicly-funded parkland project, which went on to influence park construction around the world. Birkenhead Park is representative of the town's rural history, in that Birkenhead was industrialised relatively late compared to surrounding areas and remained largely agricultural until a steam ferry service linked it to Liverpool in 1820. The original ferry service was started in the 12th century by Benedictine monks at the Birchen Head priory which looked out across the river; this service has since gone on to become a quintessential part of Merseyside culture, even inspiring the well-known song "Ferry 'cross the Mersey". Owing to the growth of the ferry, Birkenhead became a home to industry with docks and ship-building flourishing, but the town never really gave up it's rural roots and to this day is more suburban than urban.