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World Heritage for Birkenhead Park?

13/04/2023 | David Lloyd

It’s great to learn that Birkenhead Park is one of seven sites put forward for potential UNESCO World Heritage sites by the UK Government.

It confirms what we already know around here - we have a world class jewel in our midst.

It’s well known that the Paxton-designed beauty inspired New York’s Central Park (although in truth it inspired many other cities in their quest to bring green spaces into the concrete jungles of downtown).

Its sinuous paths, grassy expanses of lawn and elegant clusters of native trees are at their best in spring: surrounding a series of lakes, boathouses and that famous Orientally-inspired bridge.

Birkenhead Park is a pioneering park in other ways too - the world’s first municipal park is a real ‘People’s Park’ its significance is already well recognised. Its Grade I listing is the highest grading Historic England can bestow on any historic Park and Garden.

For the past few years, Wirral Council and partners – including the Friends of Birkenhead Park – have been eyeing the main prize: UNESCO’s World Heritage status.

And, this month, the UK Government added the park to its ‘tentative list’ - meaning they form part of a seven-site list to be formally put forward for UNESCO’s consideration.

If successful, it will form the first formal step on a path as long and winding as one of Paxton’s - but it’s an exciting time in the park’s 175 year history.

“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,” says David Armstrong, Assistant Chief Executive of Birkenhead Park.

“A successful application for UNESCO World Heritage status would also bolster the wider regeneration of Birkenhead,” David says.

“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.”

Time for a little dance of celebration? We’d say so.

To mark the park’s 175th anniversary year, Saturday, 29th April, sees Dancing In The Park animate our wondrous park with music, dance and art from across the world.

“For 175 years, Birkenhead Park has been open for everyone to enjoy without exception,” says Marie Le Devehat, World Heritage Project Officer for Birkenhead Park. “So what better way to celebrate such a milestone year for the park than with dancing?

And, of course, everyone’s invited. The event will feature Global Folk Dance project – a celebration of stick dances from Ukraine, India and England, who are also performing at the Eurovision parade in Liverpool – as well as an exciting outdoor dance show inspired called Taking Flight.

Dust off your best moves, and we’ll shimmy across that bridge with you at the end of April.

Saturday 29 April 2023 – 10 AM - 3 PM

Birkenhead Park Grand Entrance (CH41 4HD)


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