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Located along City Road, Bishop Road, Cowley Hill Lane and Rutland Street, 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, while the winter frost and snow creates a beautiful winter wonderland scene with the Mansion House as a backdrop.
• 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 were erected at the widened Windle City entrance and 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 was based in Victoria Park.
• 1994: Mansion House and walled gardens were 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 formed and campaigned for the park's restoration.
• 2009: plans for the restoration started with consultations and plans submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
• 2013: physical works began on site for the park's restoration and overhaul.
• 2014: restoration work was completed and the park was re-opened by the Mayor on 19th August.
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, when the land was owned by John Speakman. In 1849-50, John Ansdell built the house, which was anticipated as part of the original private development after Speakman's 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 famous tiger at the entrance.
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 underwent a major £4 million facelift to restore it to 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) and a major programme of activity redressed the park’s decline during the 1980s and 1990s, restoring many of its original features and revitalising its use and popularity.
The completion of the restoration in summer 2014 took the park forward to be a place for all the community for another 150 years to come.
The following historic assets were repaired and restored:
The Gate Lodge
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, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.friendsofvictoriapark.org. To book activities, hire the Gate Lodge and see what events are coming up, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/fovpsthelens or email email@example.com.
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, the 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.
For further details, visit our Road Safety section.