friends of birkenhead park

That which is good should be preserved

Celebrations in the Park

A small selection of celebrations which the Park has seen on a fairly regular basis. Do you have something to add? Please do get in touch and let us know.

Celebrations

Celebration and protest in the Park


In its early years the Park expected to host major outdoor celebrations with speeches and displays. In 1864 an Oak tree was planted to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. Celebrations were staged of coronations of new monarchs (Edward VII, George V, and Elizabeth II), jubilees (e.g. Queen Victoria’s and the that of Birkenhead itself) and other local events, involving large numbers of people both participating and watching. The town also had a willingness to protest and express its opinions. Here the Grand Entrance established a role as the prime location for public meetings. In the 1895 election campaign, the Liberal candidate W.H. Lever addressed crowds there and then led a parade of 3,000 people to gain more publicity. In the 1920s and 30s communists, and fascists including Oswald Mosley's blackshirts, addressed crowds. Oswald Mosley wanted to speak at Birkenhead Park but was refused permission. Some of the troubles of the Birkenhead Means Test Riots in 1932 started with gatherings here - followed by much violence in the town and many arrests. Even spikes from the Park railings were broken off and thrown at the police. There were “No More War” processions from the centre of town to the Grand Entrance in the 1930s, and the Lower Park was also the location for May Day celebrations and Labour Day Protests in that period.