Known by many as ‘The Great Conservatory’, Palm House was first opened in 1896 for both locals and out-of-towners to enjoy the venue’s spectacular selection of exotic plants from all around the world. To this day, visitors can take a stroll around the venue and marvel at the hundreds of species of exotic plants that spiral around the glass building’s huge transparent dome. What’s more, the beautiful venue hosts a series of Candlelight concerts, which allows visitors to unwind to classical renditions of popular songs and appreciate the venue and its flowery interior in all its glory.
Located in the heart of Sefton Park, Palm House is a five-minute walk from Aigburth Drive, and the 500, 68 and 82 buses pass by the park every 10 minutes or so. The park is a 30-minute walk from the iconic Liverpool Cathedral and the vibrant district know as the Baltic Triangle.
Facts, Curiosities and Interesting Things about Palm House
1. Everything was made possible by a generous donor
Henry Yates Thompson was a well-to-do newspaper proprietor and collector of illuminated manuscripts who fell in love with Sefton Park after a fleeting visit in the late 1800s. In 1896, the generous businessman donated £10,000 as a gift to the people of Liverpool, giving the council the means to design and build this magnificent conservatory for everyone to enjoy.
2. A bomb scare hit the park hard
In 1913, the Parks Committee reported the discovery of an unexploded bomb inside the eastern porch of the Palm House. As a package of suffragette literature was found near a park bench where the bomb was left, it’s thought that suffragette activist Kitty Marion was responsible for the ordeal. Marion was visiting friends in the area at the time and had a sketchy history with arson and bombing attacks. Although the bomb never went off, many locals were left shaken by the threat, and the number of the park’s visitors dwindled for quite a few months after.
3. The Great Conservatory tried to evade destruction
As cities across Europe endured incessant bombing during World War Two, Liverpool tried its best to disguise its most precious landmarks from the German Luftwaffe up above. The park’s owners feared that moonlight would reflect on Palm House’s giant glass panes and make the structure an easy target for the enemies in the sky. To act as a type of camouflage, the glass dome was painted with dark green paint, but it did very little to help. In 1941, the explosion from a nearby bomb completely shattered the glass, and the building was eventually repaired in the 1950s.
Besides housing beautiful plants and animals, Palm House is also host to many Candlelight concerts. Performed by renowned classically trained musicians, these intimate tributes to some of the most celebrated artists in music history are a feast for the senses. As you sit in a cosy and warm setting filled with thousands of flickering candles, you can rediscover some of the most popular songs and compositions by contemporary artists and composers of the yesteryear, like Vivaldi, Mozart, Queen and Leonard Cohen.
What else can you do at Palm House?
Palm House was built to house a spectacular selection of exotic plants from all over the world. Nowadays, although the glass building is still used as a home from home for these colourful flowers and greenery, it also hosts numerous events including community fundraisers and workout sessions. Locals and visitors can also enjoy many free events at the venue including choir performances, dance workshops and sing-a-long shows.
Over the years, Palm House has welcomed a host of fabulous events including the enchanting series of Candlelight concerts. By combining breathtaking live music with the warm glow of candlelight, these spellbinding concerts make for an unforgettable evening of magic. Although the Candlelight series isn’t taking place at Palm House for the moment, other magnificent venues are hosting these unbeatable music experiences in Liverpool.