Fieldway Green

Turn left from Thingwall Road into Fieldway, and walk towards the privet hedge which is visible straight ahead. This hedge encloses Fieldway Green, the centrepiece of George Lister Sutcliffe's portion of the Garden Suburb. The houses form a quadrangle facing on to the green, creating the sense of community which was the constant aim of Garden City and Garden Suburb designers. Walk to the left, alongside the perimeter hedge, until you reach the gap which gives access to the grassed area.

The houses in Fieldway were built in 1913, and Fieldway Green - which Sutcliffe had originally envisaged as the site of tennis courts - was the scene of summer Rose Queen Festivals for several years afterwards. In July 1914 - on the day of the Institute stone-laying - it was the venue for a Pageant depicting English village life through the ages. As the Liverpool Daily Post reported: "In the last scene of all the lesson of the display was given. Life in a monotonous street of the ordinary suburban type was shown in contrast with the life of a garden suburb". The latter was, no doubt, acted out by the most rosy-cheeked of the local children!

It was the 'humdrum existence' of most city residents - separated from their neighbours by tall brick walls - which inspired the designers of Garden Suburbs. "All gardens bordered by mature hedges; no ugly wooden fences" was still the proud boast when the houses were offered for sale to individuals in the 1930s.

Wavertree Garden Suburb was made a Conservation Area in 1971, and it is the aim of the City Planning Department to retain its character as far as possible. Garden walls and fences, as well as UPVC and 'picture' windows, are - in theory at least - outlawed.

Continue walking round the perimeter of the Green. The growth of car ownership among Suburb residents was something not anticipated by the original designers; a few houses were provided with cycle sheds, but that was all. Pass through the archway at the end, under the balcony which provided the VIPs with a grandstand view of the festivities on the Green. Then continue along the footpath which leads through to Heywood Road. (The ancient Childwall Brook runs beneath this path, which was one reason for the gap in the terrace at this point).

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