The gardens at Liverpool Parish Church.

Gardens

The Churchyard was first allowed by the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry in 1361 and remained in use as the principal ground in Liverpool until 1849.

The shipowner James Harrison, who founded Harrison Line in 1853, was theHarrison Plaque benefactor of the new Gardens.   On 17 May 1892 a Deed of Faculty was granted for the laying out of the graveyard as an 'Ornamental Ground' by forming walks and making beds of shrubs or plants surrounded with turf.  The newly laid out garden was given into the care of the Corporation of Liverpool - subject to conditions to be approved by the council and that "the proposed alterations will be a public benefit and make the said churchyard more comely and decent".  It is today designated a Protected Green Space and is part of the Castle Street Conservation Area.

Harrison Plaque

Although some graves were later moved to Walton Park Cemetery (which still forms part of the benefice of Liverpool Parish), many graves still lie under the gardens. Some of the paving stones in the Gardens were once tombstones, but fixed to the wall is the elaborate headstone of John Roscoe (d. 1773) and his wife Mary as a reminder that this is still a graveyard. The burial registers also reveal the first written record of a black resident of the City: Abell, who was enslaved to a Mr Rock, was buried on 1 October 1717.



Further information about the garden can be found on the City of Liverpool website here.


The planting, which incorporates maritime species, is designed to withstand strong salt laden winds and to provide interest throughout the year. A biblical planting theme has also been introduced into the garden.

Sundial

The sundial near the flagpole was presented to the Church in 1984 by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Merseyside and Isle of Man Branch when the Gardens were refurbished.

 

Maritime Memorials

The Gardens are the home of a number of memorials which link the Church with seafaring. As you enter the Gardens from the Church forecourt you see the bell from TSS Sarpedon, a cargo liner of the Blue Funnel Line built by Cammel Laird and launched in 1923.

In the south west of the Gardens there is a plaque commemorating HMS Liverpool (whose bell is in the Maritime Chapel in the Church), and another plaque remembering the Atlantic Conveyor, a Cunard ship which went down in the Falklands War in 1982 with the loss of 12 lives.

In 2018 a bronze sculpture will be installed on the top lawn to commemorate the 44 lives lost when the MV Derbyshire (Bibby Line) sank in 1980. This was the largest merchant navy loss of life since the Second World War. The names are listed in the memorial book in the Maritime Chapel.

Harrison Plaque
Around the flagpole at the west end of the Gardens are memorials of the Arctic Campaign. Between 1941 and 1945 Convoys went between the UK, the US, Iceland and Russia. They were part of the allied commitment to help Russia, but led to the loss of 85 merchant vessels and 16 Royal Navy ships.

Victoria Cross Walkway

Along the edge of the churchyard wall are four stones laid to mark the centenary of action which led to the award of the Victoria Cross in the First World War. There are a number of similar stones across the City, but these stones are for men who were born near the City Centre or who had a maritime connection. They are:
* Albert White VC (for action on 19 May 1917) more information here
* William Ratcliffe VC (for action on 14 June 1917) more information here
* Hugh Mackenzie VC (for action on 30 October 1917) more information here
* Cyril Gourley VC (for action on 30 November 1917) more information here

VC StoneVC White poster

 

 

 

 

 

Liverpool Blitz Memorial

During the Blitz of 1940-1, when much of the church was destroyed, over 1,700 residents of Liverpool and Bootle were killed by bombing. In 2000 a bronze memorial was unveiled in the Church Gardens by the Duke of Edinburgh.

Blitz Memorial

The sculptor, Tom Murphy, wrote of the memorial:

Each person will interpret the sculpture from their own knowledge and perspective. However,the key elements include:
o The mother who is clutching her baby while frantically trying to encourage her young son to escape down the staircase to a safer place.
o The small boy playing with his aeroplane, standing precariously at the top of the stairs, lost in the excitement of war.
o The abstract staircase, shrinking as it rises, symbolising the diminishing option for the family group.
o The staircase also indicates the way bombs spiral as they fall.
o Each step of the stairs has jagged cut outs, which give the transient effect of shards of glass, particularly on a sunny day, when they can be seen within the shadows cast by thesculpture.
o The aeroplane held by the small boy can be seen both as the instrument of destruction, or as a Cross in Remembrance of those who sacrificed their lives during the Blitz.

The names of those who died in the Blitz are recorded inside the base of the sculpture. A copy of this list is held in the Church Office.

Aerial View