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The Peach House receives funding for restoration

Thanks to a crucial funding boost, The Peach House, one of the UK’s oldest and most treasured horticultural gems, is set to be restored.

Liverpool City Council has been awarded £245,000 after submitting a successful bid to The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The money will be used to create a permanent home for Liverpool’s historic Botanical Collection.

A plan is in development to cultivate and expand a culturally significant collection located within the walled garden of Croxteth Hall. The project aims to open the collection to the public and establish it as a top visitor attraction in the city. William Roscoe founded the collection in 1803, and it holds great historical value.

Initial works will commence to restore The Peach House, which will serve as the entrance to the collection and will accommodate some of the main botanical exhibits, thanks to money raised by National Lottery Players. The Peach House is presently in a dilapidated state and will require new glazing to render it appropriate for the hundreds of plant species that belong to Liverpool.

It is hoped that this funding will act as a catalyst for other funding streams, to help build on the ambition. Future plans include:

  • The restoration of a number of greenhouses and brick buildings in order to cultivate and grow the collection.
  • Developing a brand new education programme which will see the introduction of a pilot project working with around ten primary schools across the city. The aim of this is to encourage youngsters to connect with nature and showcase the links between botany and health and wellbeing.
  • The introduction of horticultural and agricultural training courses as a result of educational partnerships with establishments such as Myerscough College and the Learning Foundry. 
  • There will be focus on how to make the collection a key visitor attraction, given its shared location with the Grade II* listed Croxteth Hall and the Country Park. Guided tours, workshops and open days will be created and attracting events will be a priority in order to support the future of the collection. 
  • Supporting mental health and wellbeing and tackling loneliness will be developed through partnerships with local and national organisations to create new pathways to ensuring members of the community who are vulnerable or isolated can access the collection regularly through an engagement programme.  
  • Establishing a digital offer, for example creating a dedicated website, is also on the wish-list, which will open up the collection to people across the world who may not be able to visit in person. It will also ensure connections will be established with other worldwide botanical collections.  

Liverpool’s Botanical Collection aims to transform into a hub of horticultural excellence. The plan is to revive the collection and establish partnerships with Kew Gardens, RHS Garden Bridgewater, and local botanical organisations such as the Eden Project North. The ultimate goal is to become a centre of excellence for horticulture.

Liverpool, the first city to successfully propagate orchids over 200 years ago, will be collaborating with the botanist team at National Museums Liverpool and universities to revamp its rare orchid collections.

Helen Featherstone, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said:

“It is wonderful news that we are able to support Liverpool City Council with this project to help preserve this nationally important botanical collection. 

“Thanks to National Lottery players, local people and visitors from further afield will be able to enjoy the beautiful and rare plants at Croxteth Hall and Walled Gardens – a location that is bursting with heritage – for years to come.”

The newly formed Liverpool Botanical Trust, established in June 2023, will collaborate with the Council to achieve the goals of conserving, safeguarding, and improving the Botanical gardens in Liverpool.

Croxteth Park’s Botanic Collection has been granted ‘National Plant Collections’ status, making it a collection of global significance. The collection has held this title since 1985 and is home to a variety of plants, including Fuchsia, Codiaeum, Dracaena, and Solenostemon.

Thousands of plants, such as orchids, ferns, begonia and tropical species, form the collection, which is looked after by a small group of gardeners based at the Hall.

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