A montage of Palm House images from the derelict phase to today's drone shots by Peter Hughes Photography

Placing itself as the jewel in the crown of the 235 acre park, the Palm House sits amongst the greenery, wild flowers and twinkling lake of Sefton Park. The Grade II* Victorian Palm House is a firm favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. The glass house is also popular with lovebirds, with over 60 weddings taking place each year. 

If you visit the Palm House now, you’ll be surrounded by over 20 different varieties of Palms, 32 Orchid Plants and one of the oldest horticultural collections in Britain. The plants inside are from 5 different continents and there are even edible plants!

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the Palm House. Let us tell you the story from the very beginning. 


The Birth of the Palm House

The Palm House

In 1896, the Palm House opened in Liverpool’s Sefton Park. The three-tiered dome conservatory palm house was gifted to the city via Liverpool millionaire Henry Yates Thompson. Thompson gifted 10,000 to fund the construction. 

The Palm House was designed in the tradition of Joseph Paxton’s glass houses and at its time of opening was stocked with a rich collection of exotic plants. 


Disaster and Decline

During WWII in May 1941, Liverpool was the subject of many disastrous bombings; The Liverpool Blitz. Liverpool was the most heavily bombed area outside of London during the war due to having the largest port on the west coast. 

During this time, a bomb had fallen nearby to Sefton Park and caused all of the glass within the Palm House to shatter. 

9 Years later, the Palm House was restored at a cost of £6,163 funded by War Restoration Funds. Unfortunately when the glass was restored, the wrong type of ‘putty’ was used to secure the glass and over time it eroded causing the glass pains to slip and fall out. 

The Palm House fell into further disrepair and by the 1980s the Palm House had to be closed due to safety concerns. 


'Save it' 

In the early 90s, some local students felt that it was sad to see the Palm House in disrepair. Overnight a sign appeared emblazoned with ‘SAVE IT.’

Then in June 1992 a public consultation was held. The dereliction of the Palm House was highlighted and calls for its restoration were heard. A petition was set up and presented to Liverpool City Council. 

‘Save the Palm House’, a public fundraising campaign was established. The idea was to ‘sponsor a pane’ on the Palm House. Over £35,000 was raised from the public fundraising campaign. 

‘Save the Palm House’ converted into a registered charity, ‘Friends of Sefton Park Palm House.’

In 1993 the Palm House was partially repaired and reopened. At a cost of £3.5million with both Heritage Lottery and European funding The Palm House was fully restored and reopened fully in 2001. 

Throughout all its toil, the Palm Tree in the centre of the Palm House survived and you can visit it today. 


 The Henry Yates Fundraiser Dinner

As the Palm House is still a registered charity, it’s important that money is raised to continue funding this incredible venue that is loved by visitors and locals alike. 

Every year the Henry Yates Fundraiser Dinner celebrates the history of the venue and honours the philanthropist who gifted £10,000 towards the construction of the Palm House. 

Every year the magical event takes place. Guests will be transported into a magical, avant-garde enchanted garden. There will be breathtaking performances and a specially designed menu, based on the exotic botanical collection.  

Here’s what they got up last year.


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This blog has been written by Jess Cavendish, Digital Marketing Manager for Marketing Liverpool. Jess looks after all things website and content related for VisitLiverpool/its liverpool, Marketing Liverpool and Liverpool Convention Bureau digital channels!

Jess loves and Aperol Spritz, her second favourite city (after Liverpool of course), is a toss up between Rome and Berlin  🤔

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Sefton Park Palm House
Historic Site
Sefton Park Palm House seen through the wild flower garden

Open to the public 7 days a week with varied arts and events programme. Also available for private and corporate hire.

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