(Continued from previous page):

The Mulleneuxs were still at Belle Vale in 1861, but by 1871 a new family was in residence: the Harrisons. The 1871 Census describes Thomas Harrison (aged 27, and born in Liverpool) as a "Merchant & Shipowner", living at Belle Vale Hall with his wife, 3 children and 5 servants. In 1881 the description was "African Merchant & Shipowner". By 1901 he was retired, but still living at Belle Vale Hall with his wife, 3 grown-up sons and 4 servants.

Clearly, Thomas Harrison was a wealthy man (though he was not connected with the famous Harrison Shipping Line). In retrospect, his main claim to fame is that he was the grandfather of the actor Rex Harrison! The 1911 Census form for Belle Vale Hall was completed by Sara Harrison (Thomas's widow) as head of household, and lists those present: her son Thomas, her son William Reginald, the latter's wife Edith Mary and 3 children (all born in Huyton), plus 5 servants. One of the grandchildren was Reginald Carey Harrison (aged 3) - i.e. the young Rex. He later wrote about his childhood memories of bike rides from the family home in Huyton to Belle Vale to see his "eccentric grandmother".

In the 20th century, Belle Vale Hall became the registered office of Belle Vale Orchards Ltd, the farm to the north being a fruit farm. The jam factory was, in the 1930s and 40s, operated by John Irwin Sons & Co Ltd, but it later became Blue Cap/Newforge Foods - the British home of Spam - and is now the site of Morrisons petrol station and supermarket.

Belle Vale Park was, sadly, described in 2001 as "a declining asset with no purposeful role to play in contributing to the quality of local life". However, landscape architects The Appleton Group were employed by Liverpool City Council to revitalise it. Their Masterplan included an "outdoor performance space", an all-weather crown bowling green, a "boulevard" and an "interactive water feature". Today, although few of the proposed features were ever implemented, the park is much better cared for than it was in the past, and the Friends of Belle Vale Park are keen to ensure that this improvement continues.

Rex Harrison (1908-1990)

Information from Liverpool City Council about Belle Vale Park

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