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Victoria Park

Located along City Road, Bishop Road, Cowley Hill Lane and Rutland St, the park is within walking distance of the town centre, with parking accessible from the City Road entrance.

Victoria Park is a beautiful 14 hectare park to suit everyone, why not take a picnic in the park during the spring and summer months, autumn is a lovely time to visit with all the changing colours of the trees and you can watch the squirrels foraging for their winter store, the winter frost and snow creates a beautiful winter wonderland scene with the Mansion House as a backdrop.

Age UK Mansion House.

Friends of Victoria Park

The Friends of Victoria Park are an active group of local residents who have long advocated the park's restoration and enhancement.

New members are always welcome; if you are interested in becoming a volunteer or would just like to see what they do. Contact details below.

For more information you can email the Friends at mailto:fovpinfo@gmail.com or visit awww.friendsofvictoriapark.org to book activities, hiring of the gate lodge and see what events are up and coming contact fovpactivities@outlook.com or vist their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/fovpsthelens

Home of St Helens Parkrun

Victoria Park is home to the St Helens parkrun which is a free, timed 5km run that takes place every Saturday at 9am.Regularly attracting 150 runners of all ages and abilities parkrun is a great way to get fit, meet new friends and enjoy our great park.

All you need to take part is a barcode which can be printed off the website. Children and Dogs are welcome to participate as well, but under 11s must run with an adult and dogs must be on a short lead. For more information please visit the ParkRun Website.

Other amenities

• The modern skate Park attracts avid skaters and stunt bike enthusiasts from across the town and the welcoming atmosphere is ideal for younger children, learners and newcomers.
• A modern ball court that provides facilities for basketball and 5-a-side football pitch in an enclosed area ideal for a general kick about with friends or organised matches.
• There are two play areas; one enclosed for the younger children and another with much larger equipment for the older and more adventurous.
• Need to shelter from a passing rain shower? Then the teen shelter is located near to the skate park.
• The path around the perimeter of the park is approximately one mile long and is very popular with walkers, dog walkers and joggers.
• Take a stroll around the park and visit the duck pond and surrounding folly that has been there since 1847.(over 160 years now)
• A wetland habitat area can be found along the Bishop Road section of the park that is home to a variety of wetland plants.
• Activities and events take place in the park throughout the year, updates will also be in the information boards around the park entrances.
• The reintroduction of the tennis courts and a new trim trail if you are feeling more energetic.
• A cycle hub will be accessable by all for organised bike rides. There are an anmount of adapted cycles for the disabled aswell.

 For Futher Details Contact: Road Safety 

 A brief history of Victoria Park

• 1849-50: Mansion House was constructed for local solicitor John Ansdell.

• 1886: Mansion House and surrounding land were acquired by St.Helens Council and re-opened to the public as ‘Cowley Hill Park’
• 21st June 1887: the park was renamed to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.
• 1892: Mansion House was opened to the public as St.Helens’ first museum and art gallery
• 8th July 1913: King George V and Queen Mary visited St.Helens and passed through Victoria Park where local schoolchildren lined the way to greet them. Permanent gates and pillars erected at the widened Windle City entrance, it was renamed "King’s Gate" in honour of the visit.
• 1939-1945: the park’s iron railings were melted down for munitions and replaced with hedges, while large areas of the park were given over to food cultivation and allotments during the war.
• Post-war era: Victoria Park resumed its recreational functions, hosting school sports, cricket matches, bowling, band concerts, and fabulous floral displays.
• 1974: the Council’s Parks Management division where based in Victoria Park
• 1994: Mansion House and walled gardens sold to Age UK as their regional HQ
• Since 2000: the play area has been refurbished and a ball court, skate park and teen play area installed.
• 2005: Friends of Victoria Park form and campaign for the parks restoration.
• 2009: plans for the restoration start with consultations and plans submitting to Heritage Lottery Fund
• 2013: Physical works begin on site for the parks restoration and overhaul.
• 2014: Restoration work completed and opened by the mayor on August 19th

Location:

 

• 1849-50: Mansion House was constructed for local solicitor John Ansdell.

• 1886: Mansion House and surrounding land were acquired by St.Helens Council and re-opened to the public as ‘Cowley Hill Park’
• 21st June 1887: the park was renamed to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.
• 1892: Mansion House was opened to the public as St.Helens’ first museum and art gallery
• 8th July 1913: King George V and Queen Mary visited St.Helens and passed through Victoria Park where local schoolchildren lined the way to greet them. Permanent gates and pillars erected at the widened Windle City entrance, it was renamed "King’s Gate" in honour of the visit.
• 1939-1945: the park’s iron railings were melted down for munitions and replaced with hedges, while large areas of the park were given over to food cultivation and allotments during the war.
• Post-war era: Victoria Park resumed its recreational functions, hosting school sports, cricket matches, bowling, band concerts, and fabulous floral displays.
• 1974: the Council’s Parks Management division were based in Victoria Park
• 1994: Mansion House and walled gardens sold to Age UK as their regional HQ
• Since 2000: the play area has been refurbished and a ball court, skate park and teen play area installed.
• 2005: Friends of Victoria Park form and campaign for the parks restoration.
• 2009: plans for the restoration start with consultations and plans submitted to Heritage Lottery Fund
• 2013: Physical works begin on site for the parks restoration and overhaul.
• 2014: Restoration work completed and opened by the mayor on August 19th

 

It is the last park in St. Helens where the original manor house survives – those at Sherdley, Taylor and Haresfinch parks are now long gone.

The pond, folly and formal garden features date back to 1847 the land then owned by John Speakman. 1849-50 John Ansdell built the house which was anticipated as part of the original private development after John Speakmans death.

Viewed from above the park forms an inverted heart shape.

It was designed by Edward Kemp, the landscape architect who also designed St Helens Cemetery.

Sir David Gamble – chemical magnate, philanthropist and St. Helens first elected mayor – donated the land in 1887 where the gate lodge now sits.

The Mansion House, City Road Lodge and folly are all individually Grade II listed structures, the gate pillars and Doulton fountain are also historically significant.

St Helens first public museum was in the Mansion House with the infamous tiger at the entrance.

 

February 2014

February is bringing us closer to the finish of the gate lodge and path works. The tennis courts are still ongoing and work is planned for the Community Garden.

If you are interested in looking after a plot as a community group then please get in touch, so far we have the Friends of Victoria Park, VCA, Parish Primary school, Age UK volunteers and University of the 3rd Age involved. Please email at victoriapark@sthelens.gov.uk or contact on 01744 676131. The next meeting is the 24th February at Mansion House.

January 2014

Happy New Year, here’s looking at the year when all the restoration works will be completed. It should be an exciting time for all those who have worked on the project for many years to see all the hard work come to fruition.

Thanks to all who recycled their Xmas trees at the Ranger event with 66 trees collected this will be an annual event now.

The bandstand has started to be erected and path works continue, please bear with us through the heavy rain and muddy paths as we try to complete work through these wet winter months.

September – December 2013

Work is nearly finished on the gate lodge and the Orangery is under construction. The fountain and chair have been restored in the walled gardens and work will continue whilst the Orangery is under construction. The gardens will be planted up by spring and the glass will be going in the Orangery, work has started on the tennis courts and some pathways.

July – September 2013

Work carries on with the old greenhouse removed and foundations put down. The pond folly and rose garden are in full restoration mode with the mayor opening this part of the scheme on the 23rd September 2013.

June 2013

Work continues at a pace on the Victoria Park Restoration Project, June has witnessed the pond walls being restored, the folly being repaired and the new floor for the Orangery being laid.

St Helens Council is working closely with William Birch & Sons to minimise disruption for park users and we apologise for any inconvenience caused during the course of the works. Should you require further information please do not hesitate to email victoriapark@sthelens.gov.uk.

May 2013

William Birch & Sons have now started work on renovating the pond and folly areas of Victoria Park. The renovations to the pond will include de-silting the pond base, the installation of some new duck ramps and new planting in and around the water line.

The folly is to be repaired using the existing materials found in the pond and from some stone previously salvaged from Victoria Park over the years.  On completion the folly will become a nice backdrop to the newly restored pond area.

We would ask that you remain patient and vigilant whilst the work is ongoing.

St Helens Council is working closely with William Birch & Sons to minimise disruption for park users and we apologise for any inconvenience caused during the course of the works. Should you require further information please do not hesitate to email victoriapark@sthelens.gov.uk.

April 2013

Work has now started on the restoration of the Orangery and walled garden areas adjacent to the Mansion House. The work on the Orangery is scheduled to be completed in December of this year at which time we will be looking to hold an opening ceremony to celebrate it’s completion. William Birch & Sons have also started work on restoring the Gate Lodge to its former glory. The Gate Lodge is scheduled to be completed during November.

 

March 2013

The contractors will be erecting a temporary compound just outside the walled garden and the footpath leading to the Gazebo will be closed until further notice.

Work officially started on 5th March with necessary tree works being carried out around the Walled garden, Pond and Gate Lodge. This work needs to be done first so the builders can get on site to start the refurbishment work.

February 2013

Restoration and refurbishment works in Victoria Park will be starting late February 2013 and should be completed in Spring 2014.

Contractors William Birch & Sons will be setting up offices and compounds next to the City Road entrance.

Some footpaths in the park will be used for transporting materials and equipment; these paths will remain open to the public unless the contractors feel there is a need to close any during the course of the works. The contractors have approved health and safety procedures in place to reduce any risk to park users.

If you will be using the park during this period please be aware of the works taking place.

Please contact FOVPinfo@gmail.com for more information or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/fovpsthelens

Victoria Park is managed by St.Helens Council. In partnership with Friends of Victoria Park and Age UK Mid Mersey (who own Mansion House), it has undergone a major £4 million facelift, in order to restore its former glory and create exciting new facilities, funding was secured from The Heritage Lottery Fund, Ibstock Corey, Corey Environmental Trust for Britain (CETB) BLISS and United Utilities.

Over £3 million was secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) www.hlf.org.uk towards estimated total costs of £4.2 million.

Please note that the HLF grant and other grants secured can only be spent on the agreed activities relating to Victoria Park and cannot be used to support any other local health, education or employment projects.

A major programme of activity has been underway to redress the park’s decline during the 1980s and 1990s, restore many of its original features and revitalise its use and popularity.

The completion of the restoration in Summer 2014 will take the park forward and be a place for all the community for another 150 years to come.

 

The following historic assets have been repaired and restored:

  • The Gate Lodge
  • The Pond
  • The folly and rose garden
  • A 1913 style Orangery to host functions and events for older people and the general public
  • The terracotta fountain and bench
  • The walled garden and porch
  • Return some of the tennis courts
  • Landscape features, views and sight lines

 

New features:

  • Community and educational facilities within the Lodge
  • A Victorian bandstand to facilitate music and other events
  • Visitor information and interpretation for adults and children
  • Additional planting and bio-diversification
  • Community garden on the old bowling green
  • Enhanced paths, seating and fitness trail
  • Enhanced lighting and car parking
  • Cycle Hub

 

The Gate Lodge

 

Victorian bandstand

 

Friends of Victoria Park

The Friends of Victoria Park are an active group of local residents who have long advocated the park's restoration and enhancement.

New members are always welcome; if you are interested in becoming a volunteer or would just like to see what they do. Contact details below.

For more information you can email the Friends at fovpinfo@gmail.com or visit www.friendsofvictoriapark.org to book activities, hiring of the gate lodge and see what events are up and coming contact fovpactivities@outlook.com or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/fovpsthelens

Victoria Park is home to the St Helens parkrun which is a free, timed 5km run that takes place every Saturday at 9am.Regularly attracting 150 runners of all ages and abilities parkrun is a great way to get fit, meet new friends and enjoy our great park.

All you need to take part is a barcode which can be printed off the website. Children and Dogs are welcome to participate as well, but under 11s must run with an adult and dogs must be on a short lead. For more information please visit the ParkRun Website.

  • The modern skate Park attracts avid skaters and stunt bike enthusiasts from across the town and the welcoming atmosphere is ideal for younger children, learners and newcomers.
  • A modern ball court that provides facilities for basketball and 5-a-side football pitch in an enclosed area ideal for a general kick about with friends or organised matches.
  • There are two play areas; one enclosed for the younger children and another with much larger equipment for the older and more adventurous.
  • Need to shelter from a passing rain shower? Then the teen shelter is located near to the skate park.
  • The path around the perimeter of the park is approximately one mile long and is very popular with walkers, dog walkers and joggers.
  • Take a stroll around the park and visit the duck pond and surrounding folly that has been there since 1847.(over 160 years now)
  • A wetland habitat area can be found along the Bishop Road section of the park that is home to a variety of wetland plants.
  • Activities and events take place in the park throughout the year, updates will also be in the information boards around the park entrances.
  • The reintroduction of the tennis courts and a new trim trail if you are feeling more energetic.
  • A cycle hub will be accessible by all for organised bike rides. There are an amount of adapted cycles for the disabled aswell.

 For Further Details Contact: Road Safety

 

 

Park run every Saturday morning at 9am for more information www.parkrun.org.uk/sthelens

Parking

Park Users can use the car park to the right of Age UK’s facility. Please make yourself aware of the times for opening and closing which are clearly marked on the sign posts.

April 2016

Previous months have witnessed St Helens College Horticulture students working hard to provide the Community Garden with some access for all planters. The students met with our very own Ranger Service to design, build and finally install the planters as part of the ongoing Heritage Lottery project. The planters will initially be planted by members of the community Garden group but we hope that new interested parties will eventually take them on in the future.

To get involved in the Community garden, or for any other information on the project, please contact 01744 678073.