Liverpool History Society Questions

A selection of Liverpool history questions submitted to the Liverpool History Society

>Strawberry Garden


I have another query about the letter.
The writer states –
“I have refused to go to the Strawberry garden,…”
The fact that the garden was close enough to walk to, or she could have taken a coach suggests that the garden was not part of the land around the house.
Might these be Liverpool’s famous strawberry fields?
Or were they a 20th century invention by the Beatles?

07/12/2009 - Posted by | Strawberry Garden


  1. Hello Cliff,

    As I thought, she was probably referring to Ranlelagh Gardens on the site of the Adelphi Hotel. Ranelagh Gardens existed between 1722 and 1790 at the top of Ranelagh Street where the Adelphi Hotel now stands. A local history book says that it had 'seats and an orchestra in the centre where entertainments of music, vocal and instrumental, and fireworks, something in the Vauxhall style, occasionally took place, to which the public were admitted on payment of a small sum. The gardens were also a favourite place of resort in the strawberry season for parties who wished to partake of strawberries grown there'. (Separately, the Vauxhall area of Liverpool was named after a house on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, which was in turn named in turn after Vauxhall Gardens in London.


    Rob Ainsworth
    Liverpool History Society

    Comment by Liverpool History | 07/12/2009 | Reply

  2. Hello Cliff,

    researching Picton`s Memorials of Liverpool I found this reference that may be of interest to you.

    “The triangular area opposite the north end of St. George'.s Hall demands a passing notice. It was originally part of the heath, and remained in its primitive state down to the latter end of the last century. In a fine plate by Burdett of the Old

    Infirmary, given in Enfield's History of Liverpool (1774), it is shown as a rough foreground, with an antique wooden windmill in the centre. This mill was removed about 1780, and the ground levelled and paved. It then became the scene of the annual festivity called Folly Fair. The origin of this merrymaking was something as follows : A short distance up what is now called Islington, but then simply the road to West Derby, very near the site of the present Christian Street, a house of entertainment and strawberry or tea-garden was kept about the middle of the last century by Mr. Gibson, who was also the lessee and manager of the Theatre Royal. Here he erected a square tower, eight storeys in height, 1 most probably for a look out or Belvedere, the situation commanding an extensive view.

    Here, as in many other parts of England, any erection of a peculiar character is attributed to the “folly” of the builder, and designated by the – name. The structure in question thus acquired the appellation of “Gibson's Folly,” by which name it was commonly known. The road which led up to the establishment was called Folly Lane, by which name it is designated in the maps of 1785 and 1796. Easter has always been a season of peculiar festivity in Lancashire. Pasche eggs, Morris dances, and hot cross buns have lingered here with greater perseverance than in most other parts of the country.”


    Rob Ainsworth
    Liverpool History Society

    Comment by Liverpool History | 07/12/2009 | Reply

  3. Hello Cliff,

    some more information gleaned from Picton`s Memorials of Liverpool Vol II.

    “Ranelagh House The name of, the street was derived from a house of entertainment which occupied the site of the Adelphi Hotel. This was established about 1722. Originally it was called “The White House,” which name it familiarly retained to the end of its career, being so called in Perry's map of 1769, but in imitation of the famous metropolitan tea-gardens, it assumed the name of Ranelagh House and Gardens. The situation was pleasant, and the grounds agreeably laid out, with a pavilion in the centre, under which music, vocal and instrumental, was performed, adjoining which was an ornamental fish-pond. From an original handbill in my own possession, which has been copied in Mr. Brooke's History, it appears that after the concerts fireworks were exhibited, much after the manner of Old Vauxhall. After remaining as a place of public resort for nearly seventyyears, about 1790 it was demolished, and a terrace of goodly mansions erected in its stead.

    The southern house of the row was long occupied by Dr. James Carson, an eminent member ofthe medical profession, who came into collision with his professional brethren on many occasions, more especially on the memorable trial of Charles Angus, to be mentioned hereafter. The situation of this terrace marked it as especially adapted for an hotel, and in 1826 the northern house was taken by Mr.James Radley and opened as the Adelphi Hotel. Mr. Radley Adeiphi was the model of a keeper of a hostelry. Polite and easy in his manners, gifted with a nice tact which enabled him to adapt himself to every situation, and endowed with a rare talent for organisation, he soon rendered his house the most popular hotel in Liverpool, and extended its fame far and wide. He gradually added house to house, until he had absorbed the entire site of the old Ranelagh House. After his decease the business was disposed of to a joint-stock company, who have made extensive alterations, and who, it is hoped, will not allow the ancient fame of the house to lose its lustre.”

    Rob Ainsworth
    Liverpool History Society

    Comment by Liverpool History | 07/12/2009 | Reply

  4. hello Rob I have a bundle of hand written letters in my possesion they are all from 1848 and are all from members of the liverpool architectural and alchaeological society,they are in very good condition,some of the names are picton and horsefall.Are the of any value intrest thanks Ian

    Comment by Anonymous | 04/05/2010 | Reply

  5. not sure if you have previously covered this as I have just found this site. Jem Mace the famous bare knuckle world champion opened a pleaseure park called Strawberry Gardens at West Derby, Hygeeia St,in 1866. He also built a Strawberry hotel there. He based the idea on Cremourne Gardens in London. the site was formerly wasteland known locally as Srawberry Bank or Strawberry Grounds with a pub on it called the Strawberry Tavern.

    Comment by Dee | 22/07/2010 | Reply

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