- To to deliver a landscaped, interesting green and open space adjacent to inner city communities where poor housing and deprivation remain too common.
- To improve the facilities available for schools, colleges, universities and the Cathedral by offering a remarkable ecological and educational resource as well as a range of outdoor meeting and performance spaces.
- To encourage the promotion of cultural activities and healthy lifestyles in a safe and conveniently sited environment.
- To complement the visitor experience currently available in the city.
St James’ Garden together with the Oratory, the Anglican Cathedral, the overarching and adjacent Georgian streetscape delivers a distinctive, spectacular and memorable experience for visitors from near and far. This is enhanced by the wealth of detail recorded on gravestones.
The Friends have already listed 14,000 burials at www.stjamescemetery.co.uk
They intend to complete the task and to commission a definitive history of this fascinating site that tells so vividly of the lives and problems of those living in eighteenth and nineteenth century Liverpool.
Historically those overseeing site maintenance had chosen to address pressing problems rather than to adopt a pro-active stance. The Friends were able to persuade Councillors of the need to renew poorly surfaced pathways, prior to installing litter bins and then emptying them regularly. They formed groups of volunteers committed to removing accumulated detritus, opening up neglected vistas and discouraging inappropriate behaviour. Their work continually uncovered new problems and – at times it was daunting and difficult.
Problems needing coordinated and on-going attention have included:
- long embedded plastic interfering with the growth of plants and trees
- trees overgrown and scarred by rubbish
- needles and syringes dangerously discarded by drug abusers
- hidden dens and stolen goods
- hazardous mountain bike trails and poorly maintained stone walling.
Since their inception the Friends have delivered around 4,000 volunteer man-hours per year.
They have cleared away huge quantities of accumulated rubbish including plastic bags and sheeting, needles and syringes, bicycles and burned out motor cars.
They have opened up the site, thereby reducing anti-social behaviour.
They have worked with the site owners and charitable bodies to maintain and secure the Garden’s legacy, its planting and its historic stone walling.
They have encouraged the involvement of local residents, school children and those visiting and working in the locality as well as enabling outdoor theatrical performances by the Liverpool Shakespeare Festival, the Globe Theatre Company and the Oddsox Company.
Since 2012 they have been discussing the future of the site with Historic England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and its landowners, Liverpool Cathedral, Liverpool City Council and National Museums Liverpool.
Membership is open to anyone who wishes to support the work of the Friends and further information is available by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org, or from Mr Robin Riley (Chairman) on 0151 709 3784.