The photographs are typical family snapshots – not particularly sharp or well-composed. They do tell a story – and an important one. The date is 1932 and there is a caption: New Boating Jetty. Over 80 years later, the lake is still there and the trees are considerably bigger. I am not sure when the boats were taken away. I have a half-memory of them being there in the 1970s (along with Sefton Park) but I could be mistaken.
What is undisputed is the place Liverpool parks hold in the hearts of all who visit them. One of the great achievements of the Victorian era was the great legacy of Sefton Park, Newsham Park and Stanley Park – all created within a few years of each other in the late 1860s/early 1870s. Over the next half century, they were added to as country estates, like Calderstones, were purchased and added to the city’s estate.
The parks were always seen as the lungs of the growing city and the belt of parkland across South Liverpool, in particular, is one of the finest in Europe. Surprisingly, Liverpool ranks only 10th amongst British cities for green space. The list is:
10 Liverpool 16.4%
9 Bradford 18.4%
8 Manchester 20.4%
7 Leeds 21.7%
6 Sheffield 22.1%
5 Greater London 23.0%
4 Birmingham 24.6%
3 Bristol 29.0%
2 Glasgow 32.0%
1 Edinburgh 49.2%
So what does Liverpool Council do? Give planning permission for housing to be built on our parks and green belt – Sefton Meadows then Calderstones Park. Allerton Priory has already gone – a private estate that the Council let go without a fight. Where next: Allerton Towers?
We must fight this attack on our parks – they were left for us and we must leave them intact for our children and grandchildren. They should be sacrosanct and not open to devious manoeuvres to reclassify as brownfield sites. We can all help. There is a petition everyone should sign and there is a fund being raised towards a judicial review. Click on the link and join the 26,000 (at the time of writing) and sign up: