Gateacre Society Walk Notes 1977-1988
Centre of Gateacre Village

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In 1976 The Woolton Society walked through the centre of Woolton discussing the history of the roads, buildings and features that make up the fabric of the village. This year The Gateacre Society invite you to a reconnaissance of the centre of Gateacre. The area we have chosen - from Grange Lodge to Kingsley and from half way up the Brow to St. Stephens - is possibly the best in all Liverpool for this kind of "walk" - nowhere else can we think of such a range of buildings, 'vernacular' and 'polite' from before 1700 to the present day in such a compact area.

Introduction. The story of Gateacre is quite different from the story of Much Woolton, though one quarter of the area we are considering lies within the township of Much Woolton. The other three quarters are in the township of Little Woolton, and it looks as if the two Wooltons have been separate since before Domesday. Much Woolton early developed the nucleus which, shifted a little north, we know now as Woolton Village. Little Woolton never had such a nucleus; it was eastwards an area of rich farming land with scattered farmsteads, westwards higher heath and common. When, towards the end of the C17 (?) a village did begin to develop it was clustered round the crossroads on the old road from the ford at Hale to West Derby, Old Swan and Liverpool. The line of that road, Mackets Lane, Halewood Road and Grange Lane seems very old, and if the identification of Wibaldeslei in Domesday Book with Lee Park is right, the 'T' junction and Belle Vale Road could have been there for some time - the track which became Gateacre Brow probably began as the way to the common grazing lands.

Maps from the latter half of the C18 show a loose cluster of buildings around the crossroads, and by about 1810 we know from water-colour sketches in the Binns Collection that the 3 pubs were established. The Childwall and Woolton Waste Lands Inclosure Act of 1805 brought the remaining common land (about one sixth of the area of the township) into private hands, and on the Brow and along Halewood Road, especially, the making of small allotments resulted in land becoming available for building. In 1838 the National School was built, by 1840 a brewery was established (on Clegg's factory site) and the 1841 census figures of the whole township show a population of 969, more than double the 1801 figure (in the same period Much Woolton's population had multiplied by five.) Andrew Barclay Walker (Walker's Warrington Ales) came to Gateacre in 1865/66, began rebuilding Gateacre Grange, and for the first time the village came under the influence of a rich landowner.

continued . . .


These Walk Notes were transcribed in 2011 from the original (1977) mimeographed typescript.
Please notify
the Gateacre Society of any errors and omissions which may be found, so that
they can be recorded above for the benefit of future researchers.

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Page created 4 Jan 2012 by MRC, last updated 4 Jan 2012