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Liverpool’s Sudley Estate is looking for local memories as it restores gardens

Growing Sudley is gathering stories and memories from the local community in Liverpool to bring the past to life as part of a major heritage project to discover the hidden history of the walled garden.

As well as the stories, they are looking for 12 history detectives to help delve into the history of the walled garden, changing rooms and greenspace at Sudley Estate.

Liverpool's Sudley Estate is looking for local memories as it restores gardens
  • Does your family have a connection to the original walled garden?
  • Did you use the changing rooms?
  • Was this your old hang-out spot?
  • Who is Ray B ’74 from the graffiti pictured below? Where is Brod? 
  • Do you have any old photographs?
  • Do you enjoy local history, researching and digging up stories? 

Growing Sudley CIC is a not-for-profit community business using nature to support community health and wellbeing. They have painstakingly brought the walled garden at Sudley Estate in Mossley Hill, Liverpool back to life as widely cherished Therapy Gardens. This has grown from the original work of the Friends of Sudley Estate and extensive community consultations.

Growing Sudley are now converting the old changing rooms building next to the garden into a Therapy Centre. They have been awarded a National Heritage Lottery grant to undertake research on the gardens and changing room building to find out as much as possible about the little documented greenspace. We are looking for your stories and 12 history detectives to help with the heritage research project. Maybe you have memories or information about the walled garden or the park, or even photographs? 

The project will delve into the past of the Sudley greenspace throughout its life, including its Colonial past and the development of the walled garden as a showcase for the botanical acquisitions of the Holt family shipping merchants. The Holts lived in Sudley House from the 1800’s and bequeathed the house and land ‘for the benefit of the people of Liverpool’. The house and estate have since been protected for public benefit, with the house operated by National Museums Liverpool and the public greenspace maintained by Liverpool City Council and the Friends group. The changing rooms were originally the pigsties, converted later to be used by the many sports teams playing on Sudley Fields before they fell into disrepair. Growing Sudley have almost completed a refurbishment of the derelict building into a low carbon Therapy Centre using air source heat pumps and eco materials. 

Lucy Dossor from Growing Sudley says:

“We can’t wait to meet some fellow detectives, to hear people’s stories and unearth more photos that have been hidden in boxes for decades. We have been working for so long with the local community on what we want the future of the walled garden to be that it feels exciting to be digging into the past”. 

History detectives will need to be available for 8 weekly afternoon sessions from 21 March to Thursday 9 May, 2024. Sessions will include an introduction at the garden, and visits to archives at Liverpool Record Office and other locations. 

If you are interested in helping research the history of the garden and changing rooms please contact us by Friday 8 March 2024.

If you don’t fancy being a detective but have any stories or photographs to share please send them to us as soon as possible, latest by Friday 3 May (the more the better!)

To send information, register as a history detective, or for any further information please contact growingsudleyheritage@gmail.com

READ MORE: HOST OF EVENTS ON SUDLEY ESTATE TO RAISE MONEY FOR DERELICT BUILDING TRANSFORMATION

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