Gateacre Society Walk Notes 1977-1988

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The village of Gateacre lies within two old townships, roughly three-quarters in Little Woolton (L.W.) and one-quarter in Much Woolton (M.W.) - that is the 'quadrant' between Halewood Road and Gateacre Brow.

The name 'Gateacre' has been traced back to the middle of the 16th century (though from its Old English elements it may be much older), and we take it to mean "gata" - the way to - the road (gate) to "acre" - the acrefield (earlier ac-low-feld) of (Much) Woolton. This idea might be localised specifically to the name for the brow as "the way to the acre" from Halewood Road/Grange Lane road.

Our walk today is wholly in L.W. which was to the East an area of rich farming land with scattered farmsteads, Westwards higher heath and common. When towards the end of the C17 a hamlet did begin to develop, it was clustered around the crossroads on the old road from the ford at Hale to West Derby, Old Swan and Liverpool. The line of this road - Halewood Road and Grange Lane seems to be very old, and if the identification of Wibaldeslei in Domesday Book with Lee Park is correct, the cross roads could have been here for a long time.

Maps from the latter half of the C18 show a loose cluster of buildings around the crossroads, and by about 1815 we know from watercolour sketches in the Binns Collection in the Liverpool Record Office that the two pubs, the Black Bull and the Bear and (Ragged) Staff were established. The Nook ( 'a small or out-of-the-way corner' is one definition in the O.E.D.) seems to have developed as an out of the way corner on a lane that did not go any further, though we have not so far found the name used before the time of Mr Lawton (c.f. Wavertree Nook).

A local board was set up for L.W. on Tuesday 19th Feb. 1867 in the Black Bull, and the Minute Books are a fruitful source of local information until, with the Liverpool Extension Order of 1913 L.W. ceased to be self governing. For 40 years there was little change, but with Gateacre Comp. in 1957, housing development in 1964-6 the character of the village was at risk.

The City Council declared the centre of Gateacre Village a Conservation Area in 1969. In 1975 the D.o.E. revised the List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest with some 114 items listed within the Conservation Area.

continued . . .


The Notes were transcribed in 2011 from the original (1982) mimeographed typescript.
Please notify
the Gateacre Society of any errors and omissions which may be found, so that
these 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