The Duke of Devonshire visited Liverpool’s Princes Park – at the start of the celebrations of the life of one of the world’s greatest ever gardeners.
Princes Park was created by Joseph Paxton, who achieved his initial fame as the head gardener at Chatsworth after he was appointed by the sixth Duke of Devonshire in 1826.
At Chatsworth, he designed gardens, fountains, a model village and built the Great Conservatory. He also designed numerous parks throughout the country and designed the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851. He was also a publisher, architect, engineer and MP – such were his interests and achievements that he was dubbed by Dickens as “the busiest man in England.”
Paxton was appointed by Richard Vaughan Yates to design Princes Park, the first major park he created. His fee was £100 plus a further £42 and expenses for his drawings. The park, opened in 1842, had private gardens, public walkways, a lake and a boathouse, provided the blueprint for many other parks
Next year marks the 150th anniversary of Paxton’s death and a number of events will be staged in Merseyside to celebrate his life.
As a forerunner to these the Duke of Devonshire was invited to view Princes Park and, accompanied by Chatsworth’s head of gardens and domain Steve Porter, he visited it on Friday 27 June
The Duke was invited to the park by Dr Katy Gardner, chair of the Friends of Princes Park. She said: “I invited the Duke to visit our park as I was inspired by a book on Paxton and from my visits to Chatsworth realised that without the huge support of the then Duke Paxton would not have achieved what he did including in Merseyside, where he also designed Birkenhead Park.
“I wanted to show off our glorious Grade 2* Heritage park to the Duke and so raise its profile beyond Liverpool. I am delighted that he accepted the invitation and that the present head gardener at Chatsworth, Steve Porter, were able to see the work which Paxton designed.”
Councillor Peter Mitchell, the Mayoral lead on parks and open spaces said; “Princes Park is an important part of Liverpool’s heritage as well as being a much-loved green space. We are extremely pleased that the Duke of Devonshire was able to see for himself the work which Paxton initially designed.”