Everton People's Park: Foraging Spiral and Basecamp commissioned by the Liverpool Biennial is a long term project to reconcile a distant deep natural history and a more recent fraught social past with a collectively re-imagined future for Liverpool’s Everton Park in partnership with local residents and collaborators.
The elevated central site of the bowl-shaped hollow - previously occupied by a small wheel manufacturer - in the middle of the park is selected as the optimal location for the project. This unique and unoccupied space is situated at the top of the hill, adjacent to the look-out crescent, popular with locals and tourists, but sheltered by the surrounding berms of earth. The first phase of the project includes an a one-day archeological dig, the planting of a wild edible spiraling garden, a temporary basecamp headquarters for a series conversations about the park's past and future, a printed journal that reports on the gathering, and a video that tells the story of the park from multiple points of view. Treating the hollow as a microcosm of the entire park, a series experiments is presented to publicly present the range of activities and features the local community would like to see in their park. The series of projects is developed in partnership with James Corner Field Operations, who are working on a long term master plan for the park.
Under the park are the remains of two neighborhoods that were leveled, first a community of terrace row houses in the early 60‘s and later a series of modern housing blocks in the 80‘s. On May 26th, 2012, a team of collaborating archeologists from the National Museums Liverpool and Ken Rogers, author of the Lost Tribe of Everton, performed a one-day dig to locate evidence of St. Benedict's Church which once stood at the entry to the garden site on Heyworth Street. The corner of the facade was revealed for a few hours, while local residents who had attended the church came to watch, some who had even been married and baptized there. Hundreds of bricks that were excavated were used for the borders of a new planting bed.
The project started by allowing the existing grass within the entire area bounded by the circular overlook drive in the center of the park to grow and gradually turn into a tall wild meadow, into which paths are mown which follow the crest of the bowl and down into the center. On May 27th, 2012, A 6 foot wide by 450 foot long bed of wild, native, and edible plantings (with local partners Squash Nutrition, The National Wildflower Centre, and the Everton Park horticulturist) lined with excavated brick from the archeology dig, was established, starting at the park entry at Heyworth Street and continuing into the central 'bowl' where it spirals into a circular gathering area.
At the center of the Foraging Spiral is a circle of logs inviting people into conversation. From September 13th to 16th, 2012 a large geodesic dome tent is installed on this site during the opening of the Liverpool Biennial serving as a temporary drop-in interpretive center to present stories about the natural and social past of the park, and for the community to convene and discuss their future visions for the place.
Sam Walkerdine and Nick Duckett
Fritz Haeg and Sam Walkerdine
Historic Everton photos from
Liverpool Record Office
Liverpool Record Office
courtesy of Ken Rogers
and Ged Fagan
Everton Park photos
Planting photos by
Mark Loudon and Fritz Haeg
Richard Scott, National Wildflower Centre, senior project manager
Kenny McNevin, local resident
Ken Rogers, author 'The Lost Tribe of Everton'
John Hutchison, Friends of Everton Park
Tom Corbett, local journalist
James McCarthy, local horticulturist
Gemma Jerome, environmental entrepreneur
Russell Start, local resident
Clare McCormack, local resident
Shirley and Jack Bird
Sara de Bondt
Richard Cass Associates
James Corner Field Operations
Friends of Everton Park
Brenda and John Hibbert
National Museums Liverpool
The National Wildflower Centre
Frank Kennedy and Sam Perry,
Everton and District History Society
Peter Woods and Frances Ryan
Sally Tallant, director
Laurie Peake, programme director
Hannah Pierce, programme assistant
In partnership with
Liverpool City Council
Liverpool Primary Care Trust
Everton ‘People’s’ Park: The Foraging Spiral
A project by Fritz Haeg