Heritage Trail

The history of Everton in one fascinating

Friends of Everton Park circular heritage trail

The Friends of Everton Park launched an historic and broad-ranging heritage trail in 2012. A decade on, it remains a fascinating circular walk for those wanting to visit what is now the green roof of Liverpool. The top park that sits above Netherfield Road and below Heyworth Street is an historic strip of land that conjures up contrasting subject areas from its 1644 English Civil War links to the 1879 birthplace of big-time football on Merseyside. The circular route, just over a mile long, presently features 12 boards, each providing a fascinating insight into the ancient, social and football history of the district as well as encompassing the most spectacular view in Liverpool from the summit of Everton ridge.

Friends of Everton Park trustee John Hutchison said: “The Everton Park Heritage Trail remains a favourite and well-visited local attraction, a facility that visitors from all over the city can enjoy as well as incoming tourists.”

Local resident Jim Fearns added: “Just to take in the uninterrupted view from up there of the city below, the River Mersey, the Wirral Peninsula and the Welsh Hills is a wonderful thing. Of course, this unique view of the city is the very reason why Prince Rupert brought thousands of Royalist troops to Everton in 1644, the perfect vantage point to plan his attack on the town of Liverpool where the Parliamentarian defenders faced a devastating outcome.

“This story is naturally featured in detail on one of the boards and the military theme continues with an insight into four men with powerful Everton connections whose valour in battle secured each of them a Victoria Cross salute.”

Of course, the modern Everton Park is just as famous for its former steep terraced streets where up to 200,000 people once lived in back-to-back terraced houses in one of the most densely populated areas of the country at that time. These residents were swept to all corners of the city during the controversial 1960s clearance programme. They have found a voice through the ‘Lost Tribe of Everton & Scottie Road’ memories project, inspired by the books of journalist and author Ken Rogers, another Friends of Everton Park trustee, who said: “Visitors walking the trail can stop at any point belong the way and think about the social history of the district that went before, or remember loved parents and grandparents The foundations of many of the old terraced streets tantalisingly lay under the park’s sweeping green slopes.

“People come from all over the city, indeed from all over the world, to this special green space to try and plot the actual front door sites of their former family homes. “John Hutchison concluded: “The aim is to encourage people to walk the trail themselves because this really is a special strip of land with such an amazing history.”

The Friends of Everton Park have produced an overlay map that is featured here (download here), enabling visitors to actually pinpoint their old street. The ‘Lost Tribe of Everton’ board is temporarily missing from the trail, being repaired and upgraded. A good place to start your walk is the car park area, accessed off Heyworth Street. Your first board here will show a map looking down on the Mersey below while pinpointing various sites of interest that include, on a clear day, the mountains of Wales. If you walk north, taking the path towards St George’s Church, close to the railings alongside Heyworth Street and keeping the children’s playground on your left, the board saluting those four brave Victoria Cross recipients comes up, each born or schooled in Everton.

Walking on towards St George’s, another board reveals the Camp Field where 10,000 Royalist Troops, led by Prince Rupert, prepared to attack the town of Liverpool in 1644. The site was a perfect strategic position high on the hill to plan the Royalist assault which was ultimately successful. Four old streets in Everton would ultimately carry the name of the famous prince: Rupert Lane, Rupert Hill, Rupert Grove and Prince Rupert Street.

A pub once stood nearby on Heyworth Street, fittingly called the Campfield. More recently, it has been replaced by a convenience store. When the path ahead curves left with the Beacon Primary School directly ahead, a board tells the story of the 1230-1803 former Everton Fire Beacon which gave its name to the nearby Beacon Lane. No mobile phones in those days, of course. The fire would be a signal to other Beacons east and west, a simple warning system to highlight imminent danger.

A nearby board tells the history of the 1814 St George’s Church which can be seen beyond the school with its tower clearly visible. It is known as the ‘Iron Church’ because it was one of the first buildings in the world with a cast iron frame. A visiting architect declared that we would not have had the skyscrapers in places like New York without this early building vision, quite a claim to fame. Turning left and heading south along the downward park path that was formerly Everton Terrace, you will now pass two boards – one a map of the old terraced streets, and then a board about the many High-Rise towers, most now gone now, that councils of the day between 1960 and 1980 misleadingly dubbed ‘Streets in the Sky’ to make them feel more appealing to the former terraced street dwellers.

Walking towards Village Street with a high sandstone wall on your left, there is a board about the former and world-famous Everton Toffee Shop and another about the 1787 Lock-Up Tower that still stands and features on the crest of Everton FC. The walk finishes in Village Street, a short and somewhat desolate avenue of trees these days on the most southern border of Everton Park, but previously a hive of activity and the heart of the old village. Here, boards pinpoint the site of Prince Rupert’s Cottage from where he plotted his attack on Liverpool, the site of the former Everton Village Cross, and also the site of the former Queen’s Head Hotel mentioned earlier as the birthplace of big-time football on Merseyside.

You will re-enter the park at the top of Village Street and make your way back to the car park.

Friends of Everton Park hope you enjoy your circular journey into local history.