I would like to have gone further afield for this visit but a lack of funds meant for this last visit of the module I went to my local park which is only a 10 minute walk from my home and is a haven in a large urban city in the 21st century.
Stanley Park is situated in the north of Liverpool between Everton Football ground (near to where I live) and Liverpool Football ground on the other side in what is now a densely populated area but was was on the edge of the countryside when it was built.
It is listed by English Heritage as a Grade II Park and is one of Liverpool’s most important historic parks. It measures 45 hectares and is one of the municipal parks along with Sefton and Newsham parks built in the mid 19th century to give the people of Liverpool access to open spaces which at the time was limited in the quickly expanding city.
I visualise the photograph above being successful painted in the style of J M W Turner, the moody clouds would be ideal for his style.
Stanley park is the most architecturally significant of Liverpool’s parks, the original design of the park (1866) was by Edward Kemp, a pioneer of public park design and a pupil of Joseph Paxton of ‘Crystal Palace’ fame and the buildings and structures designed by E R Robson who was the city architect at the time. It was formally opened on Saturday 14th May 1870 and was such a grand occasion that it was covered by the ‘Illustrated London News’. Nearly a century and a half later though the panoramic vies towards south Lancashire, Cheshire and North Wales is long gone with the subsequent building in the surrounding area.
Sadly due to years of lack of funding in the late 20th century the park fell in to disrepair but work started in November 2007 to regenerate the park and restore many of the parks features but also meet the needs of today’s users. The restoration followed the original plans for the park which were in three sections each complementing and contrasting with each other.
The Gladstone Conservatory and Bandstand were later additions to the Park (1899) but had become unusable over the years. The Conservatory was originally intended to house tropical and exotic plants. After 30 years of disuse, it had become a pile of rusty iron and broken glass and hidden behind anti-vandal boards. But I am glad to say it has now been restored to its former glory. It was raised 1.5 metres higher with a Bistro underneath serving fresh and locally sourced produce and the Conservatory itself is used for Weddings, Corporate and Match day hospitality amongst others.
The restored Conservatory is named after Isla Gladstone, local artist and textile design famous for floral prints in the Arts & Crafts movement at the turn of the 20th C. Isla married into the elite Gladstone family, who were renowned representatives of the liberal-conservative movement in Victorian Liverpool. The most famous Gladstone, perhaps, is William Gladstone of Rodney Street, British Liberal Party Statesman, Chancellor of the Exchequer and four times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
After 2½ years and 14 million pounds we have a park to be proud of after years of neglect.
The following two photographs would be ideal subjects for paintings in the style that were popular in the 17th century.
Last year as part of Liverpool’s contribution to the commemorator of the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of ‘Titanic’ Stanley Park draw thousands of people to see the giant puppets.
I’ve not been able to find many paintings of Stanley Park but while surfing the web I came across this by a local artist.