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In the Liverpool Parks - 1902

An Illustrated Guide To Liverpool - 1902' takes us on a walk around the Parks of Liverpool.

Liverpolitans can congratulate themselves in possessing so many beautiful Parks. The visitor will find it a simple matter to reach any of these delightful spots by taking advantage of the excellent system of electric trams, or by a short railway journey.

A glance at the map will show that all these open spaces are situated at a considerable distance from the heart of Liverpool. For many years the march of the builder was unchecked, but the late Mr. Richard Vaughan Yates generously presented to the Corporation land which he had purchased from the Earl of Sefton for £50,000. This property, which originally formed part of the Toxteth Royal Park, was laid out in 1843 as the “ Princes Park.” (Note. -The Park may be reached by tram to Princes Park Gates.) If the visitor approach this Park by tram, he will pass through one of the finest thoroughfares in Liverpool. Quite a Boulevard is this Princes Road and Avenue, with its Road  double row of trees and fine central promenade; and from end to end are seen Churches of all denominations. At the beginning of Catherine Street an English Presbyterian Church, with spire; in Princes Road, the Byzantine Greek Church, with four domes (modelled from the Church of St. Theodore of Constantinople). Almost opposite this building is the Church of St. Margaret, separated by Streatlam lowers (a private residence) from the great Jewish Synagogue. Facing this Jewish Synagogue is the new red circular Place of Worship for the Deaf and Dumb. Between this building -at the commencement of the Boulevard -and the Park gates, are several Churches of the Nonconformists on both sides of the road, the most noticeable being the Welsh Church, with good spire, standing at the corner of Upper Hill Street, the Gothic Presbyterian Church of England, in Upper Warwick Street, and, with its big gates and steps, the imposing   looking front   of the Baptist Chapel, near the Princes Park entrance: yet again a classic building does duty for the Park Lodge. Inside the grounds, at a short distance from the Princes Road entrance, stands an obelisk, “To the memory of Richard Vaughan Yates, the enlightened and philanthropic founder of Princes Park.” This memorial was erected by public subscription, 1858. The little Park is well wooded, has a pretty stretch of water with an island, well covered with shrubs, etc.

Situated at a short walking distance, to the east of Princes Park, is Sefton Park. This is undoubtedly the finest, as it is the largest, of the Liverpool Parks. It is nearly 400 acres in extent, and only a trifle smaller than Hyde Park. 'Some 25 acres have been added to the land purchased by the Corporation for £250,000 from the Earl of Sefton in 1854, and a vast sum has been expended in laying out the ground. The Park was opened by Prince Arthur in 1872. This is a delightful spot. It has a large review ground, and great spaces are set apart for the  enjoyment of games and sports. Excellent roads run through and all round the Park, which are much appreciated by cyclists. Its charm is greatly enhanced by the lake and running streams, which we constantly come across unexpectedly. There is also an absence of the usual bridges over the water, so that recourse has to be made to the more primitive means of stepping-stones. The waterfowl and peacocks are a great source of interest to the children. At the eastern end of the Park are fern-bordered lakes, with fountains, overlooking which a statue to William Rathbone stands, having a granite pedestal and bronze bas-reliefs. A beautiful Palm House is situated at the end of the Central Drive. On a marble seat facing one of the doors of the building we read that “ This Palm House was presented to the City of Liverpool, A.D 1896, by Henry Yates Thompson, grandnephew of Richard Vaughan Yates, the founder of Princes Park.” This circular building is 70 feet in height and 113 feet in width. The glass dome is surmounted by a fine copper vane of  Columbus’ ship. The visitor will note the highly ornate character of the four gates with the lions, “liver” bird, and eagles ; and also the statues of John Parkinson, apothecary to James I., Prince Henry the Navigator, the pioneer of Atlantic exploration, the famous gardener, Andre le Notre, Captain James Cook, Linnaeus, and Charles Darwin, which stand round the building. Sefton Park also contains an interesting Aviary, with a fine collection of birds. Similar Aviaries have been erected in Stanley Park and Newsham Park, the whole being the gift of City Councillor J. R. Grant. On its eastern side a fine bridge spans the Park, which conducts to History Mossley Hill, a favourite place of residence of the well-to-do. The tower of the fine Church of Mossley Hill is quite a land-mark, and from this vantage the Welsh Hills may be seen. Before leaving the neighbourhood of Sefton Park, the visitor should make a point of walking down Ullet Road, which runs by the north side of the Park, where at no great distance from each other four interesting churches are to be seen. Standing just outside the Croxteth Gate entrance of Sefton Park is the Sefton Park Presbyterian Church of England, built in church 1879, at a cost of £22,000, and enlarged in 1887. A fine Gothic building in Stourton stone, with spire 157 feet in height. The well-known “ Ian Maclaren,” Rev. John Watson, D.D., preaches here. At a short distance from this building is the beautiful Church dedicated to St. Agnes, erected in 1885 by Mr. Douglas Horsfall, to the memory of his father; and the new Ullet Road Unitarian Church, which was opened in 1899 at a cost of  £25,000. 

Taking the Parks in their order, stretching across the suburbs of Liverpool from south to north, that of Wavertree next claims our notice. The Wavertree Playground, a great field not far from Sefton Park, and adjoining Wavertree Station (L. & N. W.Railway.) must not be confounded with the Wavertree Park. This great Playground for children cost £80,000, and was presented to the Corporation by Philip Holt, and opened by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool in September 1895.

The Wavertee Park (by train) is very near to the North Western Edge Hill Station. The Corporation in 1843 purchased the property of 24 acres, with the original intention of building a gaol on it. The Grounds are pleasantly laid out with ornamental lake, a band stand, and shelters. Two guns, captured .at Sevastopol in 1854, are placed by the central path, and there is a pretty “ liver ” bird fountain to the left. A great portion of the ground is taken up by the walled-in Botanic Gardens, which lie to the north-east, and cover some 12 acres. These are most interesting to plant lovers, and everything is carefully labelled. At the end of the Gardens, running parallel to Edge Lane, is the fine Conservatory, with lofty central palm house. On either side of the main doorway are figures of “Tam o’ Shanter ” and “ Souter Johnny.”

Newsham and Shiel Parks occupy a central position in the suburbs of Liverpool, the nearest station being Tue Brook (L. & N.W.R.). The estate dates from the time of Henry III., and is mentioned as “Neusum.” The Liverpool Corporation bought this land in 1846 for £85,000. The small triangular Park of some 15 acres, made in 1862, is separated from Newsham Park by the Shiel Road, and was named after a popular Alderman. It is chiefly a children’s playground. There is a fine drive all round the Newsham Park, that on the western side leading out of Newsham Drive, being known as the “Judge’s Drive.” By the side of the first named Drive, which runs the length of the Park, are pleasant residences, and the broad paths are well planted with trees. The “Judge’s Drive” winds by the east side of Newsham House,” which stands overlooking the Park. This house is known as the “Judge’s Lodgings,” and it is used by the judges when on circuit.. - In going from the western to the eastern side of the Park we make a gradual descent. The lower, eastern side, is the more picturesque with its lakes and fine foliage. Standing by the lakes and with frontage to the “Orphan Drive” is the fine "Seamens Orphanage." This noble Institution was founded in 1869 by the principal shipowners of Liverpool. It gives a home to about 350 children of poor seamen, who have lost their lives at sea, and the widows and relatives are assisted out of the funds. A sum of £9,500 is annually expended. The Institution was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1874. Opposite the main entrance to the Park at the junction of West Derby Road and Rocky Lane, is St. Margaret’s Church, Anfield. It has a very lofty chancel, and well carved capitals to its marble columns. At the terminus of West Derby Road is the Parish Church of West Derby. This is one of the finest Churches in the diocese and was built from the designs of Sir Gilbert Scott on a site given by the late Earl of Sefton, the grandfather of the present Earl. The Church was consecrated in 1856, and the fine proportions of the whole building, with its carving and stained glass windows, make it well worthy of notice.

By L. & N.W.Railway. to Walton Station, and walk down Mere Lane; or by tram from Lime Street to Spellow Lane, will take the visitor to Stanley Park. In speaking of Stanley Park, if we except the Pleasure Park of Bootle, and other smaller Recreation Grounds, we deal with the most northern of the Liverpool Parks. This fine Recreation Ground cost £120,000, and was opened in 1865. It takes a similar place on the Everton and Kirkdale side of Liverpool to that held by the Sefton Park on the southern side of the City. The most striking features of this beautiful Pleasure Ground are the extensive views which are obtainable to the east, north, and west. The visitor will, however, be wise in noting the Corporation remarks with regard to wind and weather, which will save him much disappointment in sight-seeing, for chimney smoke is generally too much in evidence. There is a fine wide Esplanade in the Park, which is backed by a wall with Gothic arches, and at each end and in the centre are shelters. This Esplanade, with wings to right and left, is tastefully laid out with flower beds, and at the eastern side are seen two iron scroll telescope stands, the tops of which are handsome mortuary chapels with spires, for the Church of England, Nonconformist, and Roman Catholic sections of the community. To the right the fine sandstone tower of the Crematorium is observable. Lying to the north of the Cemetery and Stanley Park is Walton Hill, St. Mary’s Church, the Mother Church of Liverpool, is well worth seeing, with its strangely
uncared-for looking graveyard. The handsome Church is almost entirely modern, but it possesses many mural monuments, and a fine old font is to be seen at the west end. The tower is strikingly like that of the daughter  Church of St. Nicholas, bereft of its lantern.


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