This year, for the first time, a British monarch celebrates her Platinum Jubilee: 70 years on the throne. But both Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria had Golden and Diamond Jubilees which are still remembered in Gateacre. Of course, Victoria's 50 years on the throne in 1887, and 60 years in 1897, are only remembered because of the monuments that were created to commemorate the event.
For the Golden Jubilee of 1887, the wealthy brewer Sir Andrew Barclay Walker, of Gateacre Grange, presented the Little Woolton Local Board with a village green - the triangular area on the corner of Grange Lane and Gateacre Bow - and a bronze bust of the Queen sculpted by her nephew Count Gleichen. The unveiling of this monument was accompanied by great public rejoicing, and a garden party in the grounds of Gateacre Grange.
For the Diamond Jubilee, Sir Andrew's son William Hall Walker - who had inherited the Grange on his father's death in 1893 - presented the Local Board with a 'promenade' and a commemorative signpost. The promenade, complete with chestnut trees, still exists today as the footway on the north-west side of Belle Vale Road. Created out of Col. Hall Walker's farmland, it provided a pleasant and convenient route for the villagers of Gateacre to walk to the Parish Church of St Stephen.
The signpost, opposite No.66 Belle Vale Road, was severely damaged in 2012 but has since been expertly restored. The original wooden panels have been re-gilded to reveal the inscription referring to the gift of the promenade in commemoration of "the sixtieth year of the reign of her most gracious Majesty Queen Victoria". On the other side, facing the roadway, they indicate the distances to "Liverpool 6¼ miles" and "Huyton 2½ miles", among other places. Sadly the bronze weather-vane on top, which incorporated the number 1897, has since been lost.
Our present Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 was marked by celebrations on and around the village green, organised by the Friends of Gateacre. Ten years earlier, for the Golden Jubilee, we in the Gateacre Society had held our own fair on the Green, and published a reprint of the press report of the 1887 festivities. Does any reader have any particular memories of those two days?