Historic books and papers compiled by the Friends of Hilbre are to be released for studying by West Wirral residents, historians and local history students.

Wirral’s mayor Cllr Gerry Ellis will formerly launch the project at a special evening at West Kirby library on January 21.

Members of historical societies, historians and senior school teachers are among the invited guests.

Hoylake Historical Society funded the venture which also includes many photographs.

Hilbre islands form a nature reserve of world-wide importance. They are studied by local schools and marine biologists and visited by groups of bird watchers and ramblers from all over Britain.

Their history extends back many centuries. In prehistoric times it was linked to fishing expeditions and once had a seaside chapel linked to St Bridget’s parish in West Kirby.

The main island was once an army port for shipping troops to Ireland, and the site of a salt boiling works. It once had a public house and a telegraph system operating as part of o a series of semaphore stations conveying messages from Anglesey to Liverpool.

The old telegraph building now houses a small museum run by the Friends of Hilbre.

The Hilbre lifeboat was, until 1939, an annexe to the boat based at Hoylake.

Prince Philip paid three private visits to Hilbre in the 1960s and 70s, staying with a group of bird watchers.