Bowring Park Heritage Features Of Interest To Visitors
Many 'firsts' relating to steam trains, civic & social history, golf, trams, ecology
Standing with your back to the Visitors Centre, looking towards the railway, you have in sight trains passing along the Roby Embankment mentioned in Rail History books as part of the route of the famous Liverpool to Manchester Rail Road opened 1830 by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, the famous Duke of Wellington 15 years after his victory at the Battle of Waterloo.
He rode in a carriage drawn by the steam locomotive 'Northumbria' at the head of a cavalcade of seven more locomotives and their carriages. It was a beautiful sunny day, inns and rooms all over Liverpool were fully booked by visitors wanting to see this great spectacle.
Disaster struck along the line at Parkside when Liverpool MP William Huskisson was killed by the 'Rocket'. All festivities and banquets were cancelled. The Duke returned to Roby station to travel along Carr Lane to Childwall Hall (where Earl of Salisbury was still a baby). Note the original sandstone wall, the boundary wall to Roby Hall estate b. 1750s.
Now remember that you are standing at this spot because on the 1st January 1906 the Open Spaces Act was passed by Parliament, empowering Local Authorities to own and manage land for public use.
Twelve days later the Town Clerk received a letter from Alderman William Bowring, first elected Lord Mayor of Liverpool 1893-94, informing the Council he had completed the purchase of Roby Hall estate and now offered it to the City for the use of the people "for all time".
So enjoy the vista!!
Thus Bowring Park is probably the first Municial park following above Act. The offer was accepted and the gift became 'Bowring Park', presented in 1907 which happily coincided with 700th anniversary year of King John's Charter.
First greenkeeper/ploughman came to live in Roby Lodge with his family in 1907. See history plays 'The Bothy' by A Wilson.
To the rear of you, behind the Visitors Centre, golfers are enjoying a game on the first Municipal Golf Course in England, started 1911 and opened 1913, in William's gift..
To the west of you, looking towards Liverpool, imagine the first 6am tram rumbling towards its destination 'Bowring Park' in a pioneering grass tracks route opened 1915 and mentioned in tram history books.
This route brought countless thousands of citizens to Bowring Park for picnics and school treat days, via tram, train and charabanc. Guides and Scouts days too! Housing estates developed around it, accessed by walking under the bridge over the famous railway or via golf course.
East of you is Roby Village leading to Roby station and developing town of Huyton.
The east end of the building is close to the walls surrounding the once hugely popular beautiful rose gardens, and behind it is the once lovely Dell. Children under age 14 could only enter if accompanied by an adult. A wonderful place to sit and enjoy the vista and the scent of roses. A great place to train as a gardener too, with the huge greenhouses adjoining the wall, and opening to the Potting sheds on the other side.
Within these a huge boiler was kept alight to warm greenhouses and chimney walls along which grew exotic fruit trees. The 1950s boiler recently taken from its base.
(1940s - 60s gardeners on Heritage video tape) The end boiler room has also been demolished. To be rebuilt, we hope!
Also on east boundary of Roby Hall/Bowring Park remains the beautiful house called 'High Cam' which is recorded in architectural history books because of its blue bricks which are apparently unique.
It also had a lovely rear lawn sloping down to the fields/golf course, separated from them by the 18C Ha ha (sunken wall) system.
High Carrs became a Home for Handicapped, until sold by KMBC. 1990s and three new houses developed in its grounds.