Vale House Community Centre

Community Centre: 0151 653 3338
Community Cafe: 0151 638 2666
Vale House Community Centre is a fabulous venue based in the picturesque environment of Vale Park, New Brighton.

A Brief History of Vale Park

Vale Park is a sloping area of land, situated in New Brighton, Wallasey in North East Wirral. The park also leads off onto the New Brighton Promenade, with a wonderful view of the River Mersey. Vale Park is owned by the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral's Department of Education & Cultural Services and its maintenance is the responsibility of the Parks and Open Spaces Section. The park is equidistant to Liscard and its neighbouring resort, New Brighton. A bus route operates close to the park and provides a nearby stop situated on Seabank Road close to the junction with Magazine Lane. The park has a small car park for families using the park's facilities, and another additional parking area for those with disabilities. The area of land now occupied by Vale Park was an estate called Liscard Vale this being the origin of the park's name.

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In 1898, at a cost of £7,750, the estate was purchased by Wallasey Urban District Council, with the intention of providing a ‘lung' or breathing space for an increasing population. The grounds opened as Vale Park on 20th May 1899. Vale House built in 1830 was originally a family home, maybe belonging to a Cotton broker, and was later extended. The family of Charles Holland, a Liverpool businessman and Wirral JP, lived in the house for over 50 years. Charles Holland travelled widely, returning with exotic botanical specimens and many of the trees now gracing the park were planted by his gardeners. For much of the 20th century, Vale House accommodated the park staff. Though it lay disused for some years, The Friends of Vale Park encouraged the council to restore it. It opened as a community centre in 1993. William Grinsell Burston was the first Head Gardener of Vale Park, though his title was Curator, perhaps reflecting the knowledge and expertise of someone in this position at the end of 19th century.

He came to Liscard Vale in this position in 1890. When the estate was taken over by the council; ‘W.G' (as he was always known) stayed on and became Curator to the new Vale Park. Most of the laying out of the park, such as arranging the flower beds and paths, was undertaken by him. He was considered to be an expert Botanist, and spent many hours sorting seeds and discussing rare plants with specialists from Liverpool museum. W.G. died at Vale (Park) House in 1918. Ernest Burston, W.G's youngest son worked as a Vale Park gardener between 1918 and 1946, living with his wife in Vale House (which had been converted into two flats following his father's death). In 1926, a Doric-columned bandstand was constructed- and played host to brass band concerts as it continues to do so to this day. The children's show 'Joytime'- originally ran by Norman Trafford and his wife Dorothy Carr- ran at the bandstand for 45 years. She was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1992 for her work with the show.

Photo 2‘Auntie Dot' continued until 1997, she died in 1998. A children's show still takes place at the bandstand during the summer months, 'Joytime', and is organised by a voluntary committee. Following Local Government re-organisation in 1974, responsibility for the park transferred from Wallasey Corporation to the unifying Authority ‘Wirral Borough Council', under the Department of Leisure Services and Tourism ‘Outdoor Recreation Division'. Further re-organisation in 2001 saw the Leisure Services Department merge with the Department of Education to form the new Department of Education & Cultural Services. The Parks and Open Spaces Section of Cultural Services manage Vale Park today.

Vale House CafeSituated in Vale Park, Vale House (originally Liscard Vale House) was often described as a riverside villa. It was built in 1830, possibly by a cotton broker, in simple Regency style stucco rendered and painted, with fine glazed sashes, and low pitched roof. A front door with fanlight and moulded surround gave access to a south facing terrace.


In 1844 the property was purchased by Charles Holland J.P. and a large three storey extension was added to the east end to give more family accommodation. This was designed in a different style with a two storey splayed bay terminating in a pierced parapet and lead flat roof, steep pitched roofs and finished in brickwork.
When the council purchased the property in 1898 for a public park one of the main reception rooms on to the terrace was converted into an open fronted shelter. Today this is now in use as a café.
For much of the 20th century Vale House accommodated park staff, though it lay empty for some years until Wirral Borough Council was persuaded to restore it. Since 1993 the ground floor has been altered to suit its current usage and now has a modern glazed frontage with cafeteria.
It is now a thriving community centre well used by local residents.
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The house has an historic association as the home of a trading family – the Holland’s’. Charles Holland JP travelled extensively as a “plant hunter” and many of the trees and shrubs he brought back were planted in the grounds. Some of these still thrive in Vale Park today. Holland Road, in the south of the appraisal area, was named as a mark of the family’s high standing in the locality.

 

 

 

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Vale House Community Centre, Vale Park, New Brighton, Wirral, CH45 1LZ