Hartleyıs Village and Wavertree Garden Suburb

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Hartley's Village, Aintree
An aerial view of Hartley's Jam Factory
An aerial view of Hartley's Village
Spice Street (western side)
Spice Street (eastern side)
Hartley's Village was roughly contemporaneous with Port Sunlight Village. In 1888 Sir William Pickles Hartley (1846-1922) of the Hartley's Jams and Marmalade Company held a competition for a 5 acre (2 ha) workers' housing project next to his new factory in Aintree. The firm of William Sugden and Son were selected to design a block of houses surrounding a central green, described in 1905 as 'a square of neat cottages with small gardens in front, facing four roads, and surrounding an open garden and playground square'.
Hartley was born in Colne, Lancashire. The family began with a local grocers shop and then moved into the wholesale trade. The legend has it that a supplier failed to deliver a batch of jam and Hartley was forced to make his own, which sold so well that he continued to make it, packaging it in his own distinctive earthenware pots. In 1884 the business was incorporated as William Hartley & Son Limited and in 1885 he moved it to Aintree, where he subsequently built the village for his workers. In 1902 he opened a jam factory in Bermondsey, London, employing over 2,000 people. Throughout his life, he donated money for religious or philanthropic causes in Colne, Liverpool and in London. Many buildings in Colne, built in 1911, still stand and are known locally as Hartley Homes.
Hartley's Village started with 40 houses and later expanded. In the square behind the houses were gardens, tennis courts and bowling greens for the resident workers to enjoy. Most of the roads in the village were tree-lined avenues with names of the ingredients used in jam-making such as Sugar Street, Spice Lane and Cherry Avenue; only the Spice Street name seems to have survived.
The caption on the aerial view of the factory above talks about:
  the Garden Village [...] situated in the midst of trees, fields and perfectly healthy surroundings. The fruit is brought right into the works daily by special trains from the Hartley Fruit Farms. Fruit gathered at sunrise is Hartley's Jam the same evening.
The houses are now privately owned and still retain much of their charm and character, although the green spaces have long since gone and the factory remains are derelict. The Hartley's Village Heritage Council residents' group exists to reverse the decline of the village and restore the surrounding area, but it is acknowledged that this will be a long and difficult process. In 2011 the village was granted Conservation Status.
The factory main gate
The factory chimney
Nook Rise
Wavertree Garden Suburb
The construction of Wavertree Garden Suburb, originally known as Liverpool Garden Suburb began in 1910 on farmland made available to tenants on favourable terms by Lord Salisbury. The original plan had been for high density terraced housing, but the terms allowed rents for the new plan, the brainchild of Henry Harvey Vivian, Liberal MP for Birkenhead and urban planner, to be similar to those being charged by the landlords of conventional terraces. The first house was completed in 1910 and when construction ceased in 1915, 360 of the originally planned 1800 houses had been completed.
The original plan of Wavertree Garden Suburb in 1910
The site was chosen for its proximity to Queen's Drive, a major boulevard ring road that was opened in 1910, although a railway station, which never materialised, was intended as well. The layout and housing were designed by Raymond Unwin and G.L. Sutcliffe. Unwin's work on the west side of Wavertree Nook Road was the earlier. Sutcliffe's work from 1913 was on the east around Fieldway Green, although he probably designed some of the houses on the west side as well.
The plans proposed a 'simple leafy layout and low, rough-cast cottages [yielding an] understated effect'. The housing density was 11 per acre (0.4 ha) contrasting with the originally planned terraced housing at 41 per acre.
Although the Garden Suburb Movement was founded on Socialist principles and the belief that the working class deserved better and more affordable housing, the first tenants of Wavertree Garden Suburb were largely middle-class, as they needed to be able to afford a compulsory down-payment in rent and a purchase of shares in the development, which was run as a tenants' cooperative.
They would have found themselves in an isolated location in houses quite different from any built in Liverpool before, with gardens front and back. Some of them were attracted by the political ideals of the founders, though others complained in the columns of the residents' magazine The Thingwallian about the 'compulsory Communism' which used part of their rent to pay for recreational and other social facilities.
The Liverpool Mercury in 1911 reported on some local culture:
  The social life of the Liverpool Garden Suburb was appropriately inaugurated by a Garden Party held on Saturday July 1st. To the accompaniment of cheerful conversation, about eighty sat down to tea, provided by the Ladies' Committee, and served on one of the greens. The Garden Suburb Choir then made its first appearance. [...] Two sessions have been held of the open-air parliament, which, after the fashion of the old village fathers, meets on Saturday "evenings on the green", for the informal discussion "of matters of interest". Gardening topics have so far occupied attention, but local history and other matters will be treated by experts, and discussed with the freedom which a comfortable seat and a pipe in the open air engender.
In 1913 it commented upon the housing:
  Each house has its own plot of ground for a garden and is planned so that a maximum amount of light and sunshine may be put upon it. The living room or working room has the sunniest aspect generally. It is a feature of the builders to supply all the fittings necessary for the electric light. The servant question has been solved largely by the introduction of many up-to-date internal arrangements for labour saving.
A pair of unusually designed early 19th century stone cottages on Thingwall Road was converted for temporary use as Wavertree Garden Suburb Institute in 1912, a role that it retains to this day as the originally intended institute was never erected.
Fieldway Green
Wavertree Garden Suburb Institute
Acknowledgements and Further Reading
The aerial view of Hartley's Village is from The Builder, 1888. For further information on Hartley's Village see Hartley's Village Heritage Council, from where I have borrowed the aerial view of the factory; my thanks to the author. The Wavertree Garden Suburb plan is from The Builder, 1912. For further reading see Walking Book: Wavertree Garden Suburb & Walton on the Hill. The definitive book on the Garden Village Movement is the monumental study Paradise Planned: The Garden Suburb and the Modern City, by Robert A.M. Stern, David Fishman and Jacob Tilove, 2013, to which I had the honour of contributing a number of photographs. Another essential source is the Pevsner guide: The Buildings of England - Lancashire: Liverpool and the South-West (2006), by Richard Pollard and Nikolaus Pevsner.
This is a non-commercial website that is intended entirely for research and educational purposes. If I have unintentionally breached copyright with any images, I hope that the copyright owner will tolerate my usage in the present context, otherwise I will remove the material. Modern colour photographs are by the author.