Rowan Moore, in his list of top urban green spaces globally, emphasizes Birkenhead Park, established in 1847 as the world’s inaugural publicly funded civic park. Its appeal stems from scenic landscapes, including lakes, woodlands, and picturesque bridges, while also enhancing water management in flood-prone urban zones.

As the first publicly funded park in Britain, Birkenhead pioneered one of the country’s gifts to urban civilisation. It impressed Olmsted, too, and so can take some credit for inspiring Central Park and the Buffalo network. It was created by Joseph Paxton, the gardener who went on to design the giant greenhouse known as the Crystal Palace. Paxton also worked on the Duke of Devonshire’s gardens at Chatsworth, and Birkenhead can be seen as the democratisation of the aristocratic landscape, with striking buildings such as an Italianate boat house and a “Swiss bridge” artfully distributed among winding paths and curving lakes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *