Sefton Park

In the 1860's 387 acres of land were purchased by Liverpool council to create Sefton Park. Later 110 acres of land were sold to offset the cost of land and laying out of the park.

In 1866 there was a competition to design the park with a first prize of 300 guineas and second prize of 150 guineas. 29 entries were received varying in cost from £13,000 to £158,000.

The winner was a combined entry of Frenchman Edouard Andre and Lewis Hornblower from Liverpool. Hornblower was responsible for construction of buildings and Andre for the landscape design. Many of the features in the design were never to appear, but the lake and stream systems, the cricket ground , plantations and rockwork were completed almost the same as the original plan. It was soon realised that the original cost of £85,000 was far too low and an estimate of £250,000 became more realistic. The park was completed at a reduced scale for £147,000.

The original plan for Sefton Park shows the Cricket Ground on the top left.
Competition Plan
The Park was opened on 20th May 1872 by HRH Prince Arthur. He left the Town Hall in a mile long procession of 77 carriages containing dignitaries and guests to be greeted by a grandstand crowded with 4,000 people. The following day he opened the Southern Hospital which was paid for by a fair at Sefton Park. The hospital cost £13,000. Total receipts from the fair were £25,035 which still left a tidy profit after expenses of £4,984 were taken out.
The Lake

Sefton Park became the home of Sefton Cricket Club, Mersey Bowmen and Sefton Park Bowling Club. In 1886 Queen Victoria visited The Park and in 1929 The National Eisteddfod as held there.

In the Second World War Barrage balloons and anti-aircraft guns were established on the Review Field.

On holiday weekends in the late 1940s, 15,000 people frequently visited the Park.

The Lake

The Palm House was not an original feature of the Park. It was designed by McKenzie and Moncur and was a gift to the city from Henry Yates Thompson, who gave the Gladstone Conservatory to Stanley Park. The Palm House was opened in 1896 and is a cast iron structure, 82 feet high. It stands on a red granite base brought from the Isle of Mull.

The Blitz of 1950 shattered all the glass which was replaced in 1950 at a cost of £6.163. Recently, it has been again refurbished to the magnificent building that it is today.
Palm House
Palm House

George Audley, a wealthy bachelor businessman from Birkdale, donated the Peter Pan Statue which is a copy of the original in Kensington Gardens in London. The Statue was unveiled on 16th June 1928. Nearby, were the Wendy Hut and Jolly Roger ship which no longer exist.

The Shaftsbury Memorial Fountain was also a gift from George Audley. It was a copy of the one in London created by Alfred Gilbert. It was opened in Sefton park in 1932, George Audley had died but Gilbert attended the unveiling.

The Statue of politician William Rathbone (1787 - 1868) stands above the lake

. A 60 ft granite obelisk at the city centre end of the Park is a memorial to Samuel Smith who died in 1906. Smith was a cotton broker and councillor who popularised Indian cotton.

Top