, 1958), and Myrtle Gardens
, both of which are excellent examples of modern architecture in Liverpool
Hailed as the showpiece estate of Liverpool's modernist housing scheme of the 1930's
designed by Sir LH Keay OBE FRIBA the then Director of Housing
, Myrtle Gardens
now named Minster Court
, was one of Britain's
first complete inter-war large community social housing initiative to replace slum housing.
On the 13th and 14th of October 1940 a number of high explosive bombs intended for Wapping Dock missed their target and fell on Myrtle Gardens
killing eleven people and injuring a further nine.
, a scheme of 344 dwellings was built on the original site of Liverpool's Botanical Gardens opened in 1802 - the site of rendezvous of Liverpool Society
in the early 1800's.
Following Liverpool's slum clearance programme of the 1930's Myrtle Gardens was constructed on the site by the Corporation and came to represent the showpiece housing estate of Liverpool.
Myrtle Street formed one of the areas of clearance that was to make way for Myrtle Gardens
, the showpiece of the new development scheme in central Liverpool.
Myrtle Gardens showing gardens and shops
- Myrtle Street/Crown Street entrance (demolished)
Myrtle Gardens in decay
The success of Myrtle Gardens
was not to last.
Social deprivation of the area was undoubted to see failure of any housing scheme.
The environs of coal depots, railway sidings and concentrated housing in the immediate vicinity did little to help.
In 1969 an article in the Liverpool ECHO described Myrtle Gardens
as "a concrete jungle of paved areas surrounded by towering blocks of flats.
Not a flower or a blade of grass in site…..
Even the sandpits provided as playgrounds for the very young - lie unusable, with several inches of water and old cans in the bottom.
This did not stop the then residents association from attempting to raise funds to erect a community centre on the site of an old police station opposite the estate in Orphan Street, highlighting the strong community spirit of the estate.
1968 saw modernisation at a cost of £216,000 including the addition of lifts.
However, in the coming years Myrtle Gardens
, as with the other great housing projects in Liverpool
, fell into decline.
To add to Liverpool's problems 1981 saw the Toxteth riots with significant social unrest and unwanten destruction of local housing including Myrtle Gardens
1981 saw the city's Housing
Committee debate the future of Myrtle Gardens
New stairwells blend with the old structure of Myrtle Gardens
Despite the years of ruin through neglect, 2003 saw a new beginning, the third for the old Myrtle Gardens
forms part of the displays in the Museum of Liverpool
Life reflecting life in Liverpool at an age when new housing was complete with all essentials for living, contrasting with the squalid conditions of the slums.
It features a Mrs Annie Greaves of Myrtle Gardens
whose final comment is "the struggle to make both ends meet has ceased and we are all happy and healthy".
Unlike the recent scheme of St Andrews Gardens which is inhabited by students alone, the inhabitants of Minster Court range from families with young children to the elderly and includes some who have returned from the former Myrtle Gardens
The importance of preserving such an estate therefore is not only in relation to architectural history, but also social history, of which Minster Court
remains a prime example.
Display of a typical kitchen in Myrtle Gardens from the 'Museum of Liverpool Life' with permission
If you have any photographs of Myrtle Gardens
you would like to share please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign our guestbook.