Wavertree Lake

Walk along Mill Lane - so called because it was the road leading from Old Swan to the ancient Wavertree Mill off Woolton Road - past the children's playground. A few yards inside the railed enclosure can be seen a sandstone block, protruding from the grassy surface, inscribed with a crown and the letter 'S'.

This 'Salisbury stone' is a reminder of the old Wavertree Lake which existed on this site until 1929, and of a dispute between the Local Board and the Lord of the Manor as long ago as 1861. The Lake was a valued local asset; the existence of a water supply - springing from the original well - was probably the reason why a village developed here, the name 'Wavertree' having been translated by one scholar as "the place by the common pond". During the nineteenth century, however, it became very dirty and weed-infested, and the Local Board of Health decided to clean it up and plant trees round the edge. This provoked a reaction from the Marquess of Salisbury - Lord of the Manor of Wavertree - who ordered 'mere stones' (boundary markers) to be placed round the edge to show that it was his property rather than common land. Eventually the dispute was resolved - the Marquess agreeing to allow the Board to continue with its scheme - but one of the stones remains to this day.

Wavertree Lake was a favourite spot with local youngsters and their fishing-nets, but by the 1920s it had come to be regarded by the authorities as a source of danger rather than a source of fun. In 1929 it was filled in, the deciding factor being the need to widen Mill Lane to take electric trams. Today the only reminder - apart from the Salisbury stone and numerous surviving picture postcards - is the name Lake Road which is still officially attached to the stretch of road linking Mill Lane with the Picton Clock.

The above is an extract from 'DISCOVERING HISTORIC WAVERTREE',
. © Mike Chitty 1999.
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Page created by MRC 26 February 2000.