Walton, Merseyside

Walton, Merseyside

infobox UK place
country= England
latitude= 53.443639
longitude= -2.955383
map_type= Merseyside
official_name= Walton-on-the-Hill
metropolitan_borough= Liverpool
metropolitan_county= Merseyside
region= North West England
constituency_westminster= Liverpool Walton
post_town= LIVERPOOL
postcode_district= L4, L9
postcode_area= L
dial_code= 0151
os_grid_reference= SJ365945

Walton-on-the-Hill, usually shortened to Walton, is an area of Liverpool, in Merseyside, England, situated to the north of Anfield and the east of Bootle and Orrell Park. It is largely residential, with a diverse population.


To the Saxons, the original Celtic Britons were 'Walas' or 'Wealas', from which the name Wales derives. Similarly Walton could be 'Walas'-town and this is why it is one of the biggest districts in Liverpool (in terms of size) today, as it was an old town. Walton lost it independence in 1836 when it was made part of Liverpool Borough Council.

Walton has a History of Animal Attractions. In 1884 the Liverpool Inner City Zoological Park & Gardens opened on what is now the Cavendish Retail Park. Its star attraction was "Pongo", a chimpanzee who lived in the Monkey House. The Zoo itself was known for its large bronze Liver Birds which sat atop of the entrance gates, and its splendid beauty. The gardens closed in the early 1900s and the only surviving remains is the Ticket Booth, which is now a cafe beside The Plough public house. The Rice Lane City Farm is also housed in Walton, this is situated at the end of Rawcliffe Road.

The Prince of Wales pub on Rice Lane, which has the nickname of "The Sod House", was given the nickname by King Edward VII, who after making a royal visit to the previously mentioned Zoo, entered the establishment for refreshments, and proclaimed the pub to be a "Sod House" for reasons unknown. An alternative, or perhaps associated, explanation is that the landlord used clods of earth ("sods") draped over the beer barrels to keep the beer cool. He would water the sods and heat would be drawn from the barrels as the water evaporated.

The Shell Garage on Rice Lane (now Elite Fleet Car Dealership) was once the Official Workshop of Ferrari for their raceteam when competing at Aintree Grand Prix course in the 1950s.

Walton-on-the-Hill's Town Hall was demolished in the 1960s to make way for the Queens Drive fly-over. Though no longer there, the side wall, which includes the name etched in stone, still stands on the northbound side of the A59 at the fly-over. The wall is currently owned by a garage which occupies the space.

Walton also housed the now demolished Queens Drive Baths, which until 1981, was "Olympic Standard" in its size.


The Walton constituency was long a bastion of the left in the Labour Party with a Marxist influence stretching right back to the 1950s. This came to a head when the Walton by-election in 1991 saw the official Labour Party candidate, Peter Kilfoyle, defeat Militant Tendency supporter, Lesley Mahmood, in the by-election caused by the death of left-wing MP Eric Heffer.

The Member of Parliament representing Walton-on-the-Hill is Labour's Peter Kilfoyle MP. Current councillors representing Walton are Liberal Democrats.


The Walton area shares borders with other areas, some considered inner-city and some considered outer suburbs, these include Clubmoor, Anfield, Everton Kirkdale, Fazakerley, Norris Green, Bootle and Orrell Park.


Hartley's Village was built in the 19th century to house workers from the local Hartley's Jam Factory. Commissioned by Hartley himself, the Village and Jam Works are still there today, providing an insight into Walton's industrial past.

Moulded Plastics Company, Dunlop, had their UK head office and manufacturing plant based on what is now the Cavendish Retail Park (off Rice Lane, opposite Walton Hospital) until the mid-1990s. In September 1980 a severe fire at the plant closed Rice Lane and residents were told to stay indoors due to hazardous atmospheric pollution. The fire caused so much damage that the plant had to be demolished, and only a 1/3 of the site remained until its closure. The building used as the main headquarters was left abandoned for many years until a Chinese restaurant was opened in the late 1990s on the site. The last remaining plant, situated on Cavendish Drive, was demolished in 2004 to make way for a housing estate.


Walton is connected to Liverpool city centre via the A59 road.

There are two railway stations situated within Walton on the Northern Line of the Merseyrail network. Rice Lane Railway Station (formerly Preston Road) is located on the Kirkby branch and Walton Railway Station (formerly Walton Junction) is on the Ormskirk branch.

Previously, the North Liverpool Extension Line, which was still in use until the 1970s, saw Warbreck Station situated in Walton Vale and Spellow station, on the Canada Dock Branch, near Spellow Lane. Warbreck station is no longer in use, and the only remains are on a bicycle path underneath the shops.

Walton-on-the-Hill Station was situated by the Queens Drive flyover, on the Rice Lane side heading southbound. Though the station became disused in 1918, the line was used for transporting goods to Liverpool docks via the tunnel which runs through the Walton-Kirkdale area; this leads to Kirkdale Station and on to Sandhills.

What is now a bike path behind the site of the Hartley's and Jacobs factory used to be known as "Fazakerley Junction", a train depot which was regularly used until the 1960s.

Notable people

* Ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney was born in Walton Hospital
* John Birt, ex-Director General of the BBC, was born in Walton Hospital.
* Murdered toddler James Bulger was killed in Walton.
* Gerard Houllier, the ex-Liverpool FC manager, and now manager of Lyon football club in France, once taught at Alsop Comprehensive.
* Brian Jacques, children's author of among other titles, "The Redwall Series" and presenter for Radio City, presently lives in Walton.
* Paul Jewell, former Wigan Athletic F.C. manager, was raised in the Walton area.
* John Melvin, a guitarist who formed part of the band The Farm, lived in Walton from 1982 until 1998.
* Professor Stephen Molyneux, Educational Technology Guru, lived in Bedford Road and attended Alsop High School in the same class as Jimmy Mulville from 1968-1972.
* Jimmy Mulville, former comedian turned television entrepreneur with Hat Trick Productions, came from Walton and attended Alsop High School in the same class as Professor Stephen Molyneux.
* Heidi Range, one third of the Sugababes, was born in Walton.
* Alexei Sayle, comedian, attended Alsop High School as a teenager.
* Claire Sweeney, TV presenter and former "Brookside" actress, was born in Walton.
* Ricky Tomlinson, actor, lived off Queens Drive in Walton during the late 1990s.
* Robert Noonan who wrote "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" as Robert Tressell, is buried in Walton Cemetery. He was in Liverpool intending to migrate to America, but died before he could leave.

See also

*Liverpool (HM Prison)
*Everton F.C.'s Goodison Park is situated in Walton.

External links

* [http://www.multimap.com/map/photo.cgi?client=public&X=336967&Y=394184&width=700&height=410&gride=336028.775943753&gridn=395146.999855709&srec=0&coordsys=gb&db=freegaz&pc=&zm=0&scale=25000&up.x=288&up.y=6 MultiMap]
* [http://liverpoolstreetgallery.com/thumbnails.php?album=4 Liverpool Street Gallery - Liverpool 4]
* [http://www.liverpoolpictorial.co.uk/stmarys2/ Liverpool Pictoral: St. Mary's]
* [http://www.nowandthen.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Now%20and%20Then.html Now And Then: North Liverpool Local History]

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