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History of Garston

Garston lies on the banks of the Mersey, to the south of Liverpool city centre, and Toxteth. It is separated from the latter by the Otterspool. Two other brooks once flowed through the area, one of which flowed through the village and into the river. It was noted in the early 20th Century that coastal erosion was quite a threat to the area, with 15 yards being lost in 25 years. Aigburth and Grassendale constitute the spread of the suburb from its original centre, but as little as 100 years ago fields for grazing were to be found between the houses.

Gerstan usual until the end of the 15th Century; Gerston, 1201; Garston common from 1500; Gaherstan, 1205; Garstong, occasionally, giving rise to confusion with Garstang.

Origins of the name:

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Protected Heritage in Garston

Historic Features in Garston


Located near the river, Garston was a natural location for docks to grow up, and this proportion of the dock landscape was characterised by raw materials for the iron and copper works, and in the 1960s by stacks of wood related to the Baltic timber trade, which supplied the Bryant & May matchworks. There was also a gasworks in Garston, although potatoes and corn were still grown in 1900 in this remarkable area of mixed industry, agriculture and residence.

There was once a sugar works in Garston, but this closed following an arsenic poisoning incident. In 1900 the industry was dominated by a salt works and fishery. The area was particularly vulnerable, however, to the decline in international trade which badly afftected Liverpool in the later 20th Century.

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The principal road through the township has always been the Liverpool – Garston – Speke road, running parallel with and half a mile from the riverbank. Tramways also served Garston well to and from the city centre.

The Cheshire Lines Committee Railway had stations at Aigburth, Otterspool, Mersey Road (close to the Liverpool Cricket Ground), Grassendale (Cressington Park) and Garston [check current status]. The London and North West Railway had stations on the Warrington to Crewe line on the north east bounary of the township, at Mossley Hill and Allerton Road (now Allerton).

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The Ancient Crosses

There have been two ancient crosses in the township. The base of one lay opposite the south porch of the old chapel, and other other by the old mill dam. The second of these was re-erected on a new plinth near St. Francis’ church. There was an accident and smallpox hospital in the area at one time.

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Name: Aykeberyt, Aykeberk early on; Haykebergh, 1327; Aykebergh, 1361; Ackeberth, 1537; Aykeberth, 1544; Egberigh, 1600.

Aigburth was once simply a descriptive word for the area north west of Garston and west of Allerton [name means?].

Aigburth Hall is believed to have been the grange of the abbott of Whalley

The area was incorprated into Liverpool in 1903.

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9 responses to “History of Garston”

  1. janet hughes says:

    Hi there, Aigburth derived its various spellings from its old meaning of borough of oaks

    • Martin says:

      Hi Janet, thanks for your comment. It’s really interesting to hear about the origins of these place names, as I haven’t done as much research into the smaller areas compared to the main suburbs. Trees and landscape features were popular sources of place names, such as for Aintree (‘one tree’), Tue Brook and Broad Green. It gives a great clue as to how the area looked when these villages were founded.

  2. Paul Austin says:

    I remember going to Otterspool as a kid in the early 70’s.. and getting sunburn (as you did in those days) – Have you ever looked at the history of Liverpool 22. My Nan used to Live in a large Basement flat in Beach Lawn, in the house where Bruce Ismay Lived back in the days before the famous Titanic disaster (1865 – 1885) It was an ideal place to watch the ‘white Star Line’ ships coming up the Mersey from and is a very impressive Grade II listed building (as a lot are down this road). 13 Beach Lawn Seaforth/Waterloo, Liverpool, Merseyside L22 8QA – I have noticed on street view that it has a blue circular plaque on the front of the house, which is too small to read. Not sure if this is the Grade II notice or if it says anything about the former MD and Chairman of the White Star Line Group? My Nan believed the house to be haunted by Bruce Ismay’s troubled spirit and having stayed in the house many times as a child it certainly did, as a very old house, do a lot of creaking and groaning but what truth there is in the haunting is very hard to say – My Nan claims to have seen his ghostly figure on a number of occasions. I wonder if anyone else has experienced his spirit..?


  3. R daglish says:

    No mention of coal, which was the original purpose of Garston docks.

    • You’re right, there’s a lot of work still to do on this section of the website. The article here is a very early draft, and unfortunately I’ve let it sit here for far too long! You’ll notice that some of the Townships pages are much better and fuller histories than others, and those are the ones I’ve improved upon. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I give the same treatment to Garston, and I’ll make sure I include full details of the dock use as possible.

      Thanks for your comment,

  4. Emma says:

    Hi long shot, I’m aware my dad grew up in garston, he lived in Rochdale for quite a few year later in life, unforntunatly he passed away when I was just 6 years old, afterwards we moved house and lost contact with his brother, my uncle, for years I have been trying to find him he may or may not want contact with me but its worth a shot, my father’s name was anthony tartt, he changed it to Hartt, his brothers name is Steven, his dads name was Peter and his mums name was Patricia,this is literally all I know so I know it really is a long shot. if any one has any information or knows Steven please contact me on.
    Thank you

  5. Victor says:

    I am living on a new estate off Banksroad, Vesuvian Drive. I would like to know what was on this site before it was built with New Houses in 2003. Its opposite the Holy Trinity church in which there is now a school. I am very interested in this area and hoping I can get some information as far back as possible until 2003

    • Martin says:

      Hi Victor,

      The ground on which your house sits was a Recreation Ground for its entire history, once the area was built up (and no longer farmland) in about the 1920s. The corner of Banks Road and Vesuvian Drive is marked on the oldest maps as marsh, with drier ground to the north and east. The Recreation Ground was first put on the dry ground, but eventually it was extended to cover the whole area.


  6. Victor Hussein says:

    Thanks Martin

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