We'd like to collect further information so if you know of anything - maybe interesting people who are buried in Toxteth Cemetery or who lived in the villas around the park - please email us at history@tann.org.uk.

Sefton Park in Postcards



Sefton Park



Read more about the fascinating history of the locations within TANN and the surrounding areas.

Ken Pye

Information in this section is kindly provided by Liverpool historian and author Ken Pye.


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In this issue:

  • TANN Newsletter March 2020

22-June-2008 - Sefton Park

Sefton Park is virtually the only public open land that remains from what was once the 2000-acre, Royal Deer Park of King John and, apart from Toxteth Park Lodge, no other evidence survives of the districts royal heritage. Indeed, the park we now see is very much a Victorian creation.

By the 16th century, the need for food for the growing local population took precedence over leisurely hunting ventures, and the Deer Park was formally closed as such in 1592. As we have seen, the land, including what are now modern Sefton Park and the district of Toxteth, was then bought from the King by the Earl of Derby. He then allowed farmers to move in and work the land. In 1604, the land was bought from Lord Derby by Sir Richard Molyneux who invited the Puritan dissidents to settle on his estate, near the river at Otterspool, and which we shall visit later. This whole area, including what is now Sefton Park, remained rural until the latter part of the 19th century.

To enter the park through the striking granite and sandstone gates, off Ullet Road and opposite what was once King John's northern hunting lodge - at the end of Windermere Terrace, on the right we pass one of two 19th century park lodges. These were built in a half-timbered, neo-Tudor style, in 1870, and the other lodge is situated at the opposite side of the park, by the lake on Aigburth Drive. Both lodges watch over gateways to what is one of the most beautiful parks in Europe.

In 1867, as part of its major plan to create urban parks throughout the Town, Liverpool Corporation bought 375 acres of land, for £263,687, from vmware vcp-510 dumps the Molyneux family who were by this time the Earls of Sefton. Numerous smaller plots were also acquired from other local landowners. The new park was to be named after the Earl, and the perimeter road around the park is Croxteth Drive, which was named after his family seat at Croxteth Hall in West Derby. A competition was held to find a suitable designer for the new park, with a prize of 300 guineas being offered to the winner. The successful submission was a combined proposal from Edouard André - Gardener-in-Chief to the City of Paris and gardener to Napoleon III, and his partner Lewis Hornblower of Liverpool. André was a protégé of Joseph Paxton - as was Edward Kemp who designed Liverpool's Stanley Park - and by this time André had worked with both men on the creation of Birkenhead Park on The Wirral.

When the work was completed, Sefton Park was opened, in 1872, by Prince Arthur, and it remains one of the largest urban parks in Britain, outside London. There was a Grand Bazaar and ‘Horse-Leaping’ on the opening day, with a special pageant and boating on the lake. As well as many other permanent amenities in the park, there was a perimeter horse-riding track designed to emulate ‘Rotten Row’ in Hyde Park, and part of this survives. The local gentry would take to their carriages or horses out on Sunday afternoons, and parade around the park to the general delight and entertainment (mostly) of CompTIA 220-801 exam the promenading visitors to the new public leisure grounds.

Throughout the early decades of the 20th century Sefton Park continued to develop, and new public amenities were added, including an aviary. Also, in 1928, Mr George Audley - a wealthy businessman from Birkdale near Southport and who was a man who loved children - donated to ‘the children visitors to Sefton Park’, a replica of the Peter Pan statue from Kensington Gardens in London. This was unveiled during a special summer pageant, by a niece of Sir James Barrie, the author of ‘Peter Pan’. Nearby, stood a model of Wendy’s Hut from Barrie’s story; two small cannons - said to be from the Royal Yacht; and the ‘Jolly Roger’ Pirate Ship. Only the Peter Pan statue now remains and, following a major restoration at the Conservation Centre of the National Museums Liverpool, this has been re-sited in the grounds of Sefton Park Palm House. In 1932, George Audley also donated to the park, an aluminium replica of the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain (Eros Statue) from Piccadilly Circus in London but, unfortunately, he died before it was unveiled. This has also been completely restored and now stands inside the Conservation Centre in the City-centre, although an exact reproduction of this, cast in a more durable material, will be re-sited in Sefton Park in due course.

Together with fully renovated watercourses, and a restored, five-acre boating-lake that occupies the former valley of the River Jordan – named as such by the Puritans who lived in the district in the 17th century - the park is receiving a whole new lease of life; much to the joy of local people. A team of architects, tree surgeons, and water-feature designers have drawn up new plans for the park, including a new Café and toilets, and a brand new children's play area. Work has already begun, and will include reinstating more of the original watercourses; planting trees; putting up new fencing; and restoring statues, information boards, and other amenities throughout the park.

Sefton Park is the scene for fairs, circuses, concerts, fireworks displays, sporting events, public celebrations, and major civic events, such as The Women's 10K Run, and the Africa Oyé Festival. Indeed, I have organised and run a number of major events here over the years, the largest of which was a sponsored walk to raise funds for a national charity in the 1970s. This attracted almost 15,000 people both as participants and spectators.

It is worth noting that Sefton Park is included on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest, as a Grade II* park. This is one of ten such sites in the City, but it is ‘our special place’ to the people who live around its beautiful trees, watercourses, shrubs and flowers, open fields, winding pathways, and its hidden nooks and crannies; such as the Dell, near the Iron Bridge.

If local people would like to contribute their own stories and memories of our local history, please contact Ken Pye. Ken has also written a wonderful Liverpool 350-001 dumps book with DVD available from him priced £20.

Ken Pye

Tel: 0151 733 9231

Email: kenpyecosanostra@btinternet.com