The 14-month project to preserve and restore elements of the 14 hectare park and improve visitor facilities comprised refurbishment of the Grade II listed Gate Lodge, construction of a replica of the Edwardian Orangery that was demolished in the 1950s.
The renovation of the park includes landscape works, the construction of a new bandstand, relaying Victorian kerb edgings, paving & footpaths and renovating the Mansion House Walled Garden and the restoration of the Folly.
Work to refurbish the pond was also undertaken, as well as extensive landscaping to plant new trees, aquatic plants and wildflowers. Two new tennis courts have been reintroduced to the park as part of the project.
Working alongside St Helens Council, the Friends of Victoria Park, a specialist conservation team and landscape architect, NPS North West, Cassidy + Ashton incorporated the park’s historic character into its designs, utilising historic images of the Orangery to recreate the existing building.
Combining traditional design with modern technology, the 250 sq m structure features heat and glare-resistant double glazing and passive ventilation controlled by the building management system supplemented by air conditioning.
The Grade II-listed gate lodge has been fully restored retaining all the existing features and now used as a learning and community facility for park users and local schools.
The main contractor for building work was William Birch and Sons and the park stayed open during the length of the project.
Cassidy + Ashton is known for its heritage work and Dave Moore, director at the firm, said: “This was a challenging but rewarding project that required the involvement of a number of parties due to its historic nature.
“It was a privilege to work on a piece of history and we hope that many visitors will be enjoying the restored facilities for many years to come.”
Council Leader Marie Rimmer added: “Victoria Park has a special place in St Helens people’s memories, especially my own. Anyone who has grown up in the town, has a story to tell about what it means to them. That is what makes this work so exciting. Those experiences and those memories are helping to start the cycle again, to be enjoyed by future generations.”
The project was made possible thanks to external funding from Heritage Lottery Fund, Ibstock Corey, Corey Environmental Trust for Britain, Mersey Forest, United Utilities and Bliss.