Completion of Stanley Park


August 5, 1869
The new public park at Anfield, Walton, which has been constructed for the recreation and amusement of the inhabitants of the north end of the town, is rapidly approaching completion; and we understand that in the course of the present month it will be handed over to Mr. Kemp, the eminent landscape gardener, from whose designs it has been formed, preparatory to its being formally inaugurated and opened to the public.

Stanley Park, although smaller than the Newsham and Sefton Park (its area being not more than 100 acres) is, nevertheless, in many respects, more picturesque than either of the former. It is exceedingly favourably situated for a view of the surrounding country; and the landscape and marine prospect, from its higher elevation at the Anfield-road boundary, embraces a finer panoramic view that can be seen from any other district around Liverpool.

The view east and west stretches to an extent of upwards of fifty miles distant, embracing to the north-east the Rivington and Yorkshire hills, in addition to the more immediate landscape valley beneath; whilst in a north westerly direction there is a commanding view of the Mersey and the Irish Sea, together with the Westmoreland and Cumberland hills – Blackcomb, one of the Cumberland mountains, being very distinct on an ordinary clear day.

The entire area of the ground forming the park slopes gradually down to the level of the Anfield Cemetery, which forms a picturesque continuation of the park itself. The artificial winding lake and surrounding mounds which have been thrown up and played at the lower north-western boundary are a prominent feature in the entire design.

The lake, which is upwards of seven acres in extent, occupies a considerable portion of the north-west angle of the park, and may be said to consist of a number of lakelets or bays formed by the artificial mounds which have been made on its banks. The lake is cross at different points by four ornamental wooden bridges, and again crossed by an elaborate stone bridge of six arches immediately to the south of the extreme western bay, which forms the most extensive sheet of water in the entire lake.

A commodious boat-house with a shelter-house above it, is a prominent feature in the architectural ornamentation of the lake; whilst in the centre of one of the walks on the opposite margin a large drinking fountain has been erected, enclosed in a handsome octagonal canopy, supported by iron columns.

The lake is surrounded by several artistically formed walks, intersecting the mounds, being altogether nearly a mile in extent. These walks, which have been laid out with much taste, are covered with fine Jersey gravel, uniform with the rest of the walks; and, in the course of a few years, when the ornamental and flowering trees which have been planted in the mounds surrounding the lake have become matured, this portion of the park will not be least beautiful and attractive of its features.

The several walks and plantations which have been formed and laid out in other parts of the park display considerable taste of the part of the designer. In addition to these features, there is an ample recreation place, for cricket and other varied sports and amusements, occupying an area of more than 50 acres, the entire design embracing all the ornamental and practical purposes of a public park. The architectural ornamentation of the park has been liberally, if not lavishly, provided for.

At the south-western angle of the upper elevation a very handsome terrace, of angle of considerable length, has been erected, immediately beyond which there is a walk of corresponding length, about four yards above the ordinary park level, and from which there is a fine and commanding view of the surrounding country. Immediately abutting upon this walk there is a plot of ground equal in length, and fifteen yards in width, intended, to be planted with choice and exotic flowers. Flights of steps at the extreme south boundary of this area, which at intervals is also intersected by footpaths about three yards in width, lead to another walk at a still higher elevation, along the immediate south of which three large and massive shelter-house have been erected at the extreme south boundary of the park, in addition on two smaller erections of a similar description at equal distance between them.

The superintendent’s lodge, which, for a building of such a character, is palatial rather than otherwise, is situated on the Anfield-road side of the park, while the head gardener’s lodge is at the top of Mill-lane.

There are four main entrances to the park, namely, at the corner of Anfield-road and Arkles-lane, Arkles-lane and Priory-road, Priory-road and Mere-lane, and Mere-lane and Walton-lane.

The park is enclosed by plinthing and handsome iron railing six feet in height, and outside this there will be an equestrian drive along Priory-road and Mere-lane.

The intention of the Corporation was to give the land now being converted into an equestrian drive to the Walton Local Board, in consideration of their widening the road and keeping it in order, but this the Local Board declined to do, and hence the equestrian drive which is now being constructed.

The only drawback to the otherwise beautiful appearance which the park already presents – and it certainly is an unsighted eyesore – is the manner in which it is divided and cut in two, so to speak, by Mill-lane, which is a public highway, and which the Walton Local Board refuse to give up.

The Corporation wished to absorb it into the park; but we learn that the Walton Board were unwilling to surrender it without an equivalent, and proposed that the Corporation should give up an equal width of land at the Arkles-lane boundary of the park, which would thus have widened that thoroughfare; but to this proposal we understand the Corporation would not submit, and hence the refusal to give up Mill-lane. We learn, however, that the Council intend to go to Parliament for powers to close Mill-lane and throw it into the park, which will certainly very materially improve its present appearance.

The works in connection with the laying-out of the park have been executed by Mr. Pearson Lee, and the buildings and general stone-work by Mr. Campbell; and the whole have been carried on with a considerable amount of celerity, it being little more than two years since the commencement of the undertaking.
(Source: Liverpool Daily Post: August 5, 1869)

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