Calderstones Park

Calderstones Park is a public park in Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom. The 94 acres (0.38 km2) park is mainly a family park. Within it there are a variety of different attractions including a playground, a botanical garden and places of historical interest.

Calderstones botanical garden contains almost 4000 species of plants brought from all over the world by merchants and other travellers.

There is a lake in the park with geese and ducks, and there is also the mansion house, which features a café and a children's play area.

History

Originally part of the 1,583-acre (6.41 km2) expanse of the Manor of Allerton, around 1726 the area now known as Calderstones Park was sold by its owners to settle family debts. Eventually, the Liverpool merchant Thomas Martin became owner. He added to the estate before selling the area to Joseph Need Walker, a lead shot manufacturer with business interests in Liverpool. Walker acquired the estate in 1825 when the principal building was known as "The Old House". By 1828 this old farmhouse had been swept aside to make way for the mansion, Calderstones House.

In 1875 the estate was sold to Charles MacIver for £52,000. A Liverpool shipping magnate, he had joined Samuel Cunard in establishing the British and North American Royal Steam Packet Company — later and better known as Cunard Line. Charles MacIver retired in 1874 and his younger sons, Henry and Charles, took the reins.

In 1902 the MacIvers sold Calderstones for the sum of £43,000, to Liverpool Corporation.

Notable Features
The Calderstones

The Calderstones are six neolithic sandstone boulders remaining from a dolmen.

Little was known about the Calderstones until the 18th century when they are thought to have been disturbed. In 1825 it was reported that, "in digging about them, urns made of the coarsest clay, containing human dust and bones were found.

During the mid and later 19th century certain academics had declared the Calderstones to have been part of a druidical circle. In the closing years of the century Professor Herdman returned to the earlier evidence and concluded that the stones were once part of a ruined dolmen which had been mistakenly taken for a circle due to the false impression held that all druidical remains should be so arranged.

"The six surviving stones are of local sandstone and their sizes range from approximately eight by three feet to three and a half by two and a half feet. The markings which had been studied the previous century by Simpson were again analysed and latex moulds were made of the stones and carvings, which both enabled a precise record to be made and also highlight other worn carvings which were not previously visible. The carvings were placed into six categories; spirals, concentric circles, arcs, cup marks, cup and ring marks and footprints. There is also evidence of post-medieval and modern graffiti. Several of the carvings are similar to examples found in Anglesey and the late-neolithic burial site of Newgrange in the Boyne Valley."

The stones were relocated by Joseph Need Walker during his ownership, becoming a gateway feature to the eponymous estate. The stones are now housed in the Harthill Greenhouses in Calderstones Park having been moved from their previous location in an enclosure just outside the park gates in 1954 to protect them from further weathering.

Calderstones House

The mansion house was built in 1828 by Joseph Need Walker to replace the original farmhouse known as the Old House. The house is of Georgian style, though it has been subject to some unsympathetic alterations over the years and now houses council offices and a small café. The extensive stables and coachhouse are still at the rear of the house.

The Allerton Oak

One of the park's two most ancient features, estimated at 1,000 years old, is an oak tree. According to legend the ancient local Hundred Court sat beneath its branches.

Its dilapidated state is said to be due to the explosion of the gunpowder ship Lottie Sleigh over three miles away on the River Mersey in 1864. It is dependent upon a number of props that hold it up.

Botanical garden

In 1964 Calderstones, particularly the Harthill estate, was designated Liverpools Botanical garden, the third site for the collection started in 1803 by William Roscoe.

Activities in the park
Tennis Tournament

Set in the park, the Tradition-ICAP Liverpool International began in 2002 (with the women's event beginning in 2006) and has attracted many will known tennis stars such as, Martina Navratilova, Ivan Ljubičić and David Ferrer. In 2008 the tournament attracted over 2500 spectators.

Solstice

On 21 December 2009 the Winter Solstice was celebrated in the Park.

Media

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