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Today marks the 125th Anniversary of the Palm House.
The ‘great conservatory’ was completed in 1896 and was a gift to the City by Henry Yates Thompson, the grandnephew of the Founder of Princes Park. The Palm House was designed by a Glasgow firm Mackenzie & Moncur and cost £12,000.
The Palm House was designed in the tradition of Paxton’s glass houses and was stocked originally with a magnificent collection of exotic plants.
There were nine marble statues on display inside the Palm House and a marble bench. There were a further eight bronze / marble statues by Charalliand (1858-1921) displayed on plinths around the periphery.
The Palm House was a popular attraction until the blitz of May 1941 when a bomb fell nearby and shattered the glass. At the outset of World War 2 the Palm House had been ‘camouflaged’ as it was feared that the glass would reflect the moonlight and act as a guide for warplanes. Matt oil paint was used on the outside of the building – grey paths were painted over the dome, and the remainder was coloured green to blend with the surrounding parkland!
The Palm House was reglazed in 1950 at a cost of £6,163 and was enjoyed by the public until its decline towards the end of the 1980’s.
Several attempts were made subsequent to these latter years to save the Palm House from dereliction. Spring 1992 saw the start of the latest and most successful ‘Campaign to Save Sefton Park Palm House’ which pledged to ensure that this treasure should be saved for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
The success of this means the Palm House re-opened 20 years ago in 2001 with generous support from National Lottery Heritage Fund; and continues to be open for the community to enjoy – as intended by Henry Yates-Thompson 125 years ago. On Saturday 9th October the original campaigners will meet at the Palm House to plant a tree to mark this anniversary.
Kate Martinez, head of external relations of Sefton Park Palm House Preservation Trust, said:
“We are proud that the Palm House stands as a symbol of People Power – if there is something you feel passionate about, the Palm House shows what can happen if you don’t give up!
“Thanks to everyone along the way who has enabled this magnificent glass house to still be here for the benefit and wellbeing of the people of Liverpool – and it will continue to be here for many generations to come thanks to everyone who supports the Palm House through making a donation, buying a cup of tea from our café or kiosk or being a Friend of the Palm House and with thanks to National Lottery players.”
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