On the 5th of April 1847, Birkenhead Park officially opened its gates for everyone to enjoy – making it a real time of celebration for people living in Birkenhead and the surrounding areas. Back then, it was the first park in Britain to be purpose-built by a local authority and funded by public money.
2022 marks the 175th anniversary of the park. Celebrations, which will start on April 5th, will feature celebratory anniversary cakes baked by current and former students from Wirral Met College and land art (made from natural material gathered at the park) from pupils at Priory Parish School. Additionally, a new exhibition, “Birkenhead Park through the ages,” will open to park visitors. This exhibition will display previously unseen archival photographs of the park, kindly offered by Birkenhead Reference Library, together with contemporary pictures taken by the local photographers from Birkenhead Photographic Association.
The following weekend will be the anniversary launch weekend, featuring “A Day Out in the Park” on Sunday, April 10. Something for everyone will be available including a funfair, bike activities, a heritage open house at the park’s Central Lodge, a sing-along near the Visitor Center, and a visit from vintage buses from Wirral’s Transport Museum.
A local youth organisation will open the doors of its Victorian sweet shop located in the park’s Grand Entrance and will use this opportunity to launch their wonderful “Urban Walled Garden.”
Towards the end of the month, the very first session of a 6-month International Symposium on the “Genesis of Green Infrastructures” will happen online. This unprecedented event for Birkenhead Park will gather experts and academics from the UK, the US, and Europe to discuss the historical significance of new parks like Birkenhead Park in the second half of the nineteen century.
For more information about the anniversary, contact Marie Le Devehat at email@example.com.
For more information about Olmsted’s special connection to Birkenhead Park, read our recent Shared Spaces blog post by clicking here.
This article appeared in the April 1, 2022, issue of Field Notes by the National Association for Olmsted Parks.