The Isla Gladstone Conservatory Liverpool
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The Isla Gladstone Conservatory venue information
The Isla Gladstone Conservatory was first erected in 1870 and was part of park designer Edward Kemp’s vision to create a usable park space in North Liverpool, providing fresh-air and a place for exercise for the inner-city populace. It was originally intended to house tropical and exotic plants grown in surrounding greenhouses.
Stanley Park was on the edge of the countryside when it was built, but was quickly consumed by the growing city. The beautiful glass structure designed by Mackenzie and Moncur had sadly, along with the park, fallen into utter disrepute less than a century after it was first built.
Attempts were made in the 1950’s and again during the 1980’s to convert the space, but to no real significance or success. So, after thirty long years of disuse, the Conservatory was but a pile of rusty iron and broken glass, overrun with weeds and hidden behind anti-vandal boards.
But there were a few who could see over the mounds of litter and through the barricade of graffiti, and so, in 2007, Stanley Park and The Isla Gladstone Conservatory became a major factor in the dream for urban regeneration in Liverpool.
The structure, made from 5,115 pieces, was painstakingly disassembled. The iron framework was unscrewed, taken away, restored, re-glazed and laid onto brand new foundations. The original stone and ironwork was kept where possible and specialist craftsmen were employed to help with the sympathetic restoration of this Grade II listed building.
The building, which cost only £12,000 to build and a massive £12 million to restore, now sits 1.5 metres higher than before. With breathtaking views over the city, The Isla Gladstone Conservatory is a striking space, and with a specially adapted, climate-controlled interior, is set to become one of the North West’s most unique and exclusive events venues.
Iconically situated between rival football clubs Liverpool and Everton, and listed with English Heritage, the building oozes history and is reminiscent of the long-forgotten childhood memories of local and outlying residents. With a nod to the old in such sensitive restoration, the Conservatory looks to the new with all the conveniences of modern technology.
Historic features of the park have also been returned, including five sandstone pavilions, rose walks and bridges and photographs have been used in the reformation of the Conservatory to maintain and reflect the original vision of its designers.
As a grade II listed building set in Stanley Park, so described as one of the four major ‘lungs’ of the city of Liverpool, it is important that The Isla Gladstone Conservatory and its grounds are carefully maintained to prevent it returning to its once dilapidated state.
A massive total of £25 million was spent on the complete regeneration of the park, the conservatory and incorporated structures like the bandstand and pavilions. The original parts and materials were kept where possible, or replaced like for like if the damage was beyond repair.
Contractors heading the project were sympathetic to the original design of the park and the glasshouse and strove to uphold the vision of its original creators. The team came up with new concepts and ideas to maintain modern standards without changing existing structures or appearances.
For the supporting columns of the conservatory, cast iron pieces were replaced with a stronger, more modern equivalent called spheroidal graphite cast iron. In the specialist workshop in Telford, where parts were sent for expert repair work, pieces were blast cleaned using a process that removes corrosion without damaging the parent material.
Measures have been taken to make the conservatory leak proof, reduce the glare from the sun, strengthen the glass panes and install an effective drainage system, making the space fully useable and preserving the work that has been done to reinstate its former glory.
Stanley Park itself is officially a Green Flag Park.
The Isla Gladstone building is named after local Artist and Textiles Designer Isla Gladstone. Isla married into the elite Gladstone family, who were renowned representatives of the liberal-conservative movement in Victorian Liverpool.
The most famous Gladstone, perhaps, is William Gladstone of Rodney Street, British Liberal Party Statesman, Chancellor of the Exchequer and four times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Isla Gladstone is famed for floral prints produced throughout the arts and crafts movement during the turn of the last century. Her work is incorporated into the very design of the interior, both in the main conservatory space and the bistro below. The inclusion of her delicate designs commemorates her inimitable talent and allows the Gladstone legacy to live on.
The renovation of The Isla Gladstone Conservatory is a fitting marriage of creative and aristocratic elements of the city that spawned some of the most influential figures in both the arts and political industries.
Venue contact details and info
Name: The Isla Gladstone Conservatory
Phone: 0151 263 0363
Type of venue: Live
Dress code: n/a
Opening hours: n/a
Food served: Yes
Parking: Behind Venue
Nearest Train Station: Kirkdale Station
Address: The Isla Gladstone Conservatory, Stanley Park, Anfield Road, Liverpool, L4 OTD
Venue short url: https://www.skiddle.com/venues/47786/
Music Policy: n/a
Drinks served: Yes
Disabled facilities: Yes
Nearest Bus Stop: Front of Venue
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