Events at Ashton Park

Records of early events in Ashton Park are unfortunately limited, but we hope you enjoy the vintage photos on this site.

Please do let us know if you have any images you would like to share by ringing Martin Harrison directly on 0151 625 8535 or emailing him at martinandsueharrison@gmail.com.

 

Brass bands performed in the early years and were actively promoted by the Council as an attraction for residents and visitors.

There was never a bandstand built in the park but a makeshift wooden concert platform was built in the Upper Park on the site of the tank.

A major event was promoted in 1920 using a period wooden concert stage. This proved a controversial development and many residents opposed the initiative as well as the St Bridget’s Rector who retrospectively refused permission for the construction on Church land.

This 1996 event celebrated the year when the plans for a park on this site were first proposed by the Hoylake and West Kirby District Council in 1896.

In fact the park was not opened until 1901 for various reasons including local consultations (some very heated!), funding, land acquisition, design and subsequently laying out and planting.

An ambitious week of entertainment involving community groups and performers was laid on in a marquee on Court No 5 of the tennis courts in the Upper Park.

The Ashton Park May Fair first started in the 1990s as a fundraiser and it has become a family and community favourite since then.

This well-attended event is spread across Ashton Park and also uses Westbourne Hall for stalls and refreshments. 

Features of the event are a traditional children’s fair in the Upper Park, donkey rides, face painting, a Viking encampment, numerous stalls outside and in Westbourne Hall, model boating and various entertainments and refreshments.

Jumbo fun at the 2023 May Fair

Visitors browsing the stalls at the 2015 Fair

Youngsters enjoying the donkeys at the 2018 fair

The Vikings are coming! Or at least they were back in 2017

Bands had not performed regularly in the park for many, many years.

A market research exercise among park users and residents told the Friends of Ashton Park that the community wanted to listen to live music again in Ashton Park – the first concerts starting in 2004 (St Helens Concert Band) with the first full programme in 2005 viewed from the terracing in the Upper Park, originally provided for the tennis tournaments.

The original bands were St Helens Concert Band, Peninsula Jazzmen, Heswall Band and Ellesmere Port Silver Band.

Port Sunlight Lyceum Band, Mold Town Band, Peninsula Jazzmen and local rock band Like a Hurricane are now regular performers.

A few more photos taken over the years are shown below.

Open-air theatre

Between 2004 and 2009 Open Air promenade theatre performances were held in the park in partnership with Foolsgold Theatre Company, a New Brighton-based group.

Evening public and school matinee performances were presented with scenes located in various parts of the park with actors and audience promenading between different locations.

Ultimately financial pressures on the Friends’ balance sheet and time pressures on actors dictated that productions were no longer sustainable. Photos are displayed from each performance.

Open-air cinema

Briefly Moonlight Flicks visited us for one year, 2016, but Storyhouse, the promoters, did not bring the event back to Ashton Park.

Evening public and school matinee performances were presented with scenes located in various parts of the park with actors and audience promenading between different locations.

Ultimately financial pressures on the Friends’ balance sheet and time pressures on actors dictated that productions were no longer sustainable. Photos are displayed from each performance.

Lost Castles

Ashton Park was one of 6 host sites for “Lost Castles” across Merseyside. The building based on West Kirby’s Viking heritage was of a Stave Church.