World Heritage UK’s Tentative List – Birkenhead Park, the Pioneering People’s Park

Located in North West England, Birkenhead Park is widely acknowledged to be the earliest purpose-built and publicly funded public park. Designed in 1844 by Joseph Paxton, it was laid out in response to a rapidly growing urban population during the Industrial Revolution. Whilst parks had generally been private estates, it was open for all people, regardless of their position in society. This ‘People’s Garden’ was so revolutionary it greatly inspired Frederick Law Olmsted, the co-designer of New York’s Central Park, when he visited the Birkenhead Park in 1850.

Today still, Birkenhead Park provides a green oasis for everyone to enjoy, and continues to serve the social purposes for which it was created. For several years, it has been an ambition of Wirral Council and partners to seek UNESCO’s recognition of it as a World Heritage Site. In April 2023, Birkenhead Park was officially included on the UK’s Tentative List for potential future nominations to UNESCO.