Extend your trip to Wirral and join one or both of the post-congress tours we have organized. More details to be confirmed.
Post-Congress Tour: Fri 20th October 2017
Park Design, Restoration & Place Making: Southport and Liverpool
The Post-Congress Technical Tour on Friday 20th October will focus on three different parks and gardens in Southport. This will be followed by an afternoon visit to Liverpool’s grade I listed (’Parisian’) Sefton Park.
Southport is situated on the Sefton Coast and is often referred to as the floral capital of England’s North West because of its parks and gardens. These greenspaces are considered to be an important cultural asset for the people of the region and have become much-loved as tourism attractions in their own right. Southport started to be developed towards the end of the 18th Century as an upmarket bathing resort becoming a fashionable residential town in the Victorian era.
The tour will visit three different urban parks:
A park designed by Edward Kemp and officially opened in 1868. The site was formerly sand dunes. The park’s oval layout with water features has obvious similarities to Birkenhead Park where Kemp was superintendent. Later structures include a conservatory and an observatory. The park has been subject to restoration and rejuvenation through support from the Heritage Lottery Fund through its Parks for People programme. This included installing a new ornamental water fountain to replicate the lost historic one. The park also has a formal American Garden with specimen plants from America.
Lord Street Gardens
While one distinctive feature of Southport’s Lord Street is its Victorian canopied shops, another is its landscaped gardens which give the locality a boulevard feel. These gardens have recently been restored through a Townscape Heritage Initiative. They are home to a number of fountains and water features and with plenty of seating they provide tranquil space in an otherwise busy thoroughfare.
These were formally opened by King George V with Queen Mary in 1913 – hence taking the name King’s Gardens. They incorporate the former south marine gardens and lake, which had been created as the sea retreated from the Victorian shoreline and its promenade. The gardens have grade II ornamental shelters. In 1931 a Venetian Bridge was constructed over the lake creating a new route through the park. In 2012, the gardens were awarded £5.5million from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of their restoration.
Sefton Park, Liverpool
In the afternoon the tour continues with a visit to Liverpool’s historic Sefton Park.
Sefton Park is the only attributed 19th century Parisian-style public park in England. It was laid out between 1867 and 1872 by the French landscape designer Edouard Andre and the local architect Lewis Hornblower. Andre had worked in Paris on projects such as the Tuileries Gardens. The design of Sefton Park launched his international career designing both public parks and private landscapes especially across Europe. Hornblower was also responsible for structures in Birkenhead Park including the Grand Entrance and is buried in Flaybrick Cemetery. Sefton Park contains an Eros Fountain and Peter Pan statue that are replicas of those in London (in Piccadilly Circus and Kensington Gardens). The park benefited from a £5 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2006.
At the heart of Sefton Park is an octagonal, three tiered, Grade II* listed Victorian Palm House. It had fallen into decline despite having its 3712 panes of glass replaced in the 1950s to make good bomb damage during World War II. In 2001 it was restored through Lottery money (£2.4 million) plus donations following a public campaign to save this building in the 1990s. It is now an important events venue as well as housing 300 plants from 50 countries including numerous palms. It is managed by Sefton Park Palm House Preservation Trust – a registered charity.