St James' Gardens

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St James' Gardens ( 640x480 )
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St James Gardens are also known as St James Cemetery and they lie behind the Liverpool Cathedral. In the past it was used as a stone quarry (until 1825) and as a city cemetery (until 1936). Nowadays it is an urban park, ten acres large.

The cemetery did not belong to the Cathedral as many people think. The construction of the cathedral began in 1903 on the hill above the cemetery known as Quarry Hill or Mount Zion, later renamed to St James Mount. The park has two always-open entrances. At the north side there is a stone path lined with recycled grave stones and it descends through a short tunnel between The Oratory and the main entrance of the cathedral. The southern entrance leads through a stone arch between the Garden Lodge and the steps up to the Mount.

The site was originally a stone quarry that began operation in the 16th century. There are several tunnels (blocked today), which were probably created in the 18th century. Until the end of the 18th centure there stood also a windmill. In 1773 the quarry workers discovered a running spring. It still flows today. The quarry was exhausted in 1825. In 1826 the young architect John Foster Jr was commissioned to design and lay out a cemetery. On the high ground at the north he built the windowless Oratory in the style of Greek Revival architecture to accommodate funeral services. Today is it usually closed to the public and it contains a number of the monumental statutes recovered from the cemetery. To the south the architect built a monumental arch and porters lodge (Garden Lodge) out of the same stone. It became a private home in 1997. The cemetery was closed in 1936 after 57,774 burials and subsequently fell into a state of disrepair. To the notable features belongs Huskisson memorial. The place became a park in 1972.
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