Birkenhead Park has been named on the ‘Tentative List’ amongst some other UK sites, meaning that it could become a UNESCO World Heritage site this year! This would see it join other sites on the list like The Great Barrier Reef, Persepolis and Babylon.
Birkenhead Park opened in 1847, designed by Joseph Paxton, who also designed The Crystal Palace in London. Fun fact: this fella also cultivated the most consumed banana in the Western world. So, pretty accomplished by anyone’s standards.
The Grand Entrance, which we all know and love, was designed by Lewis Hornblower (great name), who also designed Sefton Park. The park actually influenced the design of Central Park in New York, so there’s a dash of Liverpool in The Big Apple!
It’s already a designated conservation area and English Heritage have registered it as a Grade 1 Listed Landscape. So, it’s pretty much dripping in accolades and we think it’s about time that the world resognise its significance too!
David Armstrong from Wirral Council is representing the park and he agrees:
“Already Wirral residents hugely value Birkenhead Park and this is shown by the fact that it is visited by nearly two million people every year.
For several years, it has been an ambition of Wirral Council and partners – including the Friends of Birkenhead Park – to seek UNESCO’s recognition of the Park and its immediate surroundings as a World Heritage Site. To be included on the UK Tentative List for potential nomination to UNESCO for World Heritage Status is fantastic news and shows we are one step closer to achieving that ambition.
A successful application for WHS status would also bolster the wider regeneration of Birkenhead and if ultimately accepted as a World Heritage Site this flagship Park would have its place in history cemented even further, as well adding further to its international recognition.”
UNESCO describes the world heritage status as ‘the designation for places on Earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity and as such, have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.
World heritage status doesn’t, in practice, grant protection for sites. Although we can’t see Birkenhead Park going anywhere anytime soon, plenty of sites have in the past been looted or destroyed. So, it’s important that sites like Birkenhead Park continue to be nominated. After all, the world needs to see the beauty of Merseyside!