History of Stanley Park & Isla Gladstone

Opened in 1870, the Park was designed by Edward Kemp (1817-91) who had assisted Joseph Paxton at Birkenhead Park. It includes structural features by E.R. Robson.

The Isla Gladstone Conservatory was first erected in 1870 and was part of park designer Edward Kemp’s vision to create a usable park space in North Liverpool, providing fresh-air and a place for exercise for the inner-city populace. It was originally intended to house tropical and exotic plants grown in surrounding greenhouses.

Stanley Park was on the edge of the countryside when it was built, but was quickly consumed by the growing city.

The beautiful glass structure designed by Mackenzie and Moncur had sadly, along with the park, fallen into utter disrepute less than a century after it was first built.

Attempts were made in the 1950’s and again during the 1980’s to convert the space, but to no real significance or success. So, after thirty long years of disuse, the Conservatory was but a pile of rusty iron and broken glass, overrun with weeds and hidden behind anti-vandal boards.

But there were a few who could see over the mounds of litter and through the barricade of graffiti, and so, Stanley Park and The Isla Gladstone Conservatory became a major factor in the dream for urban regeneration in Liverpool.

Since 2007 Stanley Park has undergone an extensive £14m transformation with many of the original architectural features and landscape components restored and improved, including the reinstatement of the third lake and the main lake bridge. The Park has also benefited from a new children’s play area, refurbished park bandstand and, most notably, the full reconstruction of the iconic Isla Gladstone Conservatory, which now includes a café restaurant, providing a new facility for the regenerated Park.