Knowsley Hall, the former home of the Earls of Derby, is an impressive17th-19th-century mansion surrounded by 2500 acres of parkland part of which has been given over to a safari park. The drive-through reserves contain elephants, glraffes, rhinos, monkeys, lions, tigers and many other animals. There are a children’s amusement park and pets’ corner, and, during the summer months, a dolphinarium.
The north bank of the famous River Mersey was first settled in the 1st century AD, and had grown into a sizeable fishing village by 1207 when King John granted a charter. It was Liverpool’s coastal location which influenced its greatest development, first as one point in the triangular slave trade with Africa and the West Indies; then with the American colonies and the young Republic whose cotton fuelled the textile industry of northwest England. By the mid 19th century and the introduction of steamships, modern Liverpool had finally emerged, serving as a principal port of trade and emigration. Today the seven mile dock is one of the finest in the world, with the famous Liver Building its crowning glory, although trade has declined leaving parts redundant.
Port of Sunlight
The name of this Victorian ‘model village’ commemorates Sunlight soap, the product that helped to found the vast fortune of William Hesketh Lever, who became the lst Viscount Leverhulme. The Lady Lever Art Gallery and Museum contains a magniHcent collection of English painting and furniture.
St Helens has two famous names to its credit: Pilkington, the glass manufacturers, and the late Sir Thomas Beecham conductor extraordinary. The latter was born here in 1897. The Pilkington Glass Museum contains many fascinating items. A former director of the firm, Major W N Pilkington, had the distinction of being the first farepaying air passenger in the UK.
Southport is a pleasant resort, with elegant shops in Lord Street, beautiful gardens, some good golf courses, a pier, and six miles of sandy beach (once used for motor racing). The Atkinson Art Gallery has interesting collections of 19th and 20th- century painting and sculpture; the Botanic Gardens Museum is devoted to natural and local history; historic locomotives and other old vehicles are in the Steamport Transport Museum; on the Promenade there is a model village and model railway, and a zoo in Princes Park.