4304869Coronation Gardens, situated in West Kirby, is a unique open space that lies between the Promenade and Banks Road.  They stand alongside the site previously occupied by the prestigious Hydro Hotel, which was demolished in the 1960s and replaced by town houses.

The Coronation Scheme began in 1937 (together with Coronation Park, Greasby, which was opened on the same day) and so the name Coronation Gardens was a most appropriate name.  The plans were a great relief to many ratepayers, who felt that this particular part of the district needed cleaning up.  “It was an untidy piece of land and the proposed improvement would be of great benefit to the residents of the district”.  Councillor Selwyn Lloyd remarked that the site of the new gardens was formerly waste land (sand hills) and it reminded him of the battlefield of Flanders, which he was taken to see after the war.

The gardens were officially opened on Saturday 9th April 1938 by Sir John Nicholson, Baronet.  Lovely hanging baskets of daffodils were arranged at intervals round the café where the ceremony took place.  In his speech he said “After the tumult and excitement of the Coronation had died down, they were able to observe the quiet qualities the King and Queen so obviously possessed and for that reason he thought it fitting that they should commemorate the Coronation by means of a simple and pleasant gardens such as that, a garden in which they and generations to come could wander about at their leisure”.

After the opening of the Coronation Gardens prominent residents were entertained to tea in the garden’s café by the Chairman of the Council, Mr J Selwyn Lloyd M A.  The first manager of the café was Mrs Campbell of Banks Road.

The cost of the gardens was £10,000.  The purchase of the land was £4,637 and the cost of laying it out somewhere in the neighbourhood of £5,000.  The fact that it was eligible building land had increased the cost, and the cost of laying was increased because they had to bring soil before anything would grow; and they also had to build a strong wall to keep out the tide.

4304859The landscaped gardens were well maintained by the Local Authority.  However during the 1970s and early 80s the flowerbeds were neglected. The circular path that had once been a central feature of the Gardens was grassed over to save on maintenance and the flowerbeds were allowed to become a tangle of weeds only to be later filled in.  By the mid 1980s Coronation Gardens was no more than a large expanse of grass and had lost any of it’s formal identity.  Litter and dog fouling became a constant problem for local residents and the focal recreational facility on West Kirby’s front became nothing more than a neglected eyesore.

In 2002, determined to reinstate the Gardens to their former glory, a group of local residents decided to take action.  Over one hundred questionnaires were distributed throughout the local community inviting people to give their opinion on how the Gardens should be brought ‘back to life’.  With support from the Council it was decided to form the Friends of Coronation Gardens to raise awareness and funds to restore and regenerate the space.