Victoria Park has been recognised by the Green Flag Award Scheme as one of the very best green spaces in the world.
The park is among a record-breaking 1,970 UK parks and green spaces that have received a prestigious Green Flag Award – the mark of a quality park or green space.
This international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.
The historic park and Grade II listed Mansion House have benefitted from over £3 million secured through the Heritage Lottery Fund, with many of its original features – dating back to the 1850s – repaired and restored in recent years.
Keep Britain Tidy chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “We have awarded more Green Flags to parks and green spaces this year than ever before, which means beautiful, well-managed and peaceful spaces are accessible to more people than ever. But our message is use it or lose it.
“Not only does visiting your local park boost your mental health but your visit supports the effort made by local authorities to provide world-class parks and that has never been harder to do.”
“With around 27,000 parks and greenspaces across England alone Green Flag standard parks are still the exception but the number of awards given out this year is a testament to the hard work and innovation displayed by many local authorities.
“Indeed, Keep Britain Tidy wants to see many more meet the Green Flag Award standards creating a national network of quality parks and green spaces on people’s doorsteps, inspiring more of us to get our ‘20 minutes a day’ (amount of time to spend in nature to help improve mental wellbeing)
“If you want to boost your wellbeing even more, you could take it one step further and get involved in your local park by joining its friends’ group. Being part of a community goal, while spending time outside, can give a real sense of pride and positivity.
“We’ve seen it with many of our volunteer groups over the years.”
About Victoria Park
It is the last park in the borough where the original manor house survives – those at Sherdley, Taylor and Haresfinch parks are now long gone.
The pond, folly and formal garden features date back to 1847 the land then owned by John Speakman. In 1849-50 John Ansdell built the house which was anticipated as part of the original private development after John Speakmans death.
It was designed by Edward Kemp, the landscape architect who also designed St Helens Cemetery.
Sir David Gamble – chemical magnate, philanthropist and St Helens’ first elected mayor – donated the land in 1887 where the gate lodge now sits.
The Mansion House, City Road Lodge and folly are all individually Grade II listed structures, and the gate pillars and Doulton fountain are also historically significant.
St Helens’ first public museum was in the Mansion House with the famous wood-carved tiger at the entrance.
A beloved community asset, the park and house are now home to Age UK Mid Mersey, the popular St Helens Parkrun every Saturday (www.parkrun.org.uk/sthelens), and a host of other events.
More information: www.sthelens.gov.uk/victoriapark