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Walton, originally known as Walton-on-the-Hill, in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, is an area situated to the north of Anfield and the east of Bootle and Orrell Park. Historically in Lancashire, it is largely residential, with a diverse population.
The town name 'Walton', may have been derived from the same origins as the country name 'Wales'. The Saxons called the earlier inhabitants of Briton (the Celtic Britons) the 'Walas' or 'Wealas'. Thus, Walton may have once been called 'Walas' town. Whatever the origins of the name, Walton is one of the oldest areas of settlement in Merseyside.
The name Walton comes from settlement/farmstead of Wealas - native Celts which is what the new Anglo Saxon speaking peoples called the native inhabitants of England. There is strong evidence that in many areas of England taken over by Germanic speaking settlers, the native British (Wealas) remained undisturbed, farming the same land they did when the Romans left. Over time they just adopted or forgot their Celtic tongue (similar to Old Welsh/Cornish) for the language and culture of the newcomers in order to climb the social ladder or were coerced to do so. It was in the Anglo Saxon interest that the native British carry on as usual to ensure the economy produced food and goods for the new landowners.
However there is no actual evidence all the people in England actually spoke a Celtic language and there is evidence that a Germanic tongue was already spoken and the Anglo-Saxons helped an already Germanic speaking native population with security etc., including local proto-English landlords. Placenames in the Roman period show just as much Germanic influence as Celtic. Also there is no evidence Walton means simply Briton, as it also means foreigner or stranger and could simply refer to new Anglo-Saxon settlers or a stranger who acquired the actual ownership from outside. There's no evidence of such as people as the Celts and it certainyl wasn't a name used in Britain and Ireland.
Walton's recorded history appears to have started with the death of Edward the Confessor, when it was said that "Winestan held the manor of WALTON". After the conquest of the Normans, it is thought that Roger of Poitou included Walton in the lands he gave to his sheriff, Godfrey.
In 1200, the founder of Liverpool, King John of England gave the town of Walton to Richard de Meath, who left Walton to his brother, Henry de Walton. Henry's son William inherited the lands of Walton, but William died before his son Richard was of age, so Richard was made a ward of Nicholas de la Hose by the Earl of Derby and the estate was managed by nobles outside the family for a time.
Walton was then held by the 'de Walton' family until Roger de Walton's death in the 15th century, when it was split through marriage between the Crosse, Chorley and Fazakerley families. Walton Manor later passed through the Breres and Atherton families and it was sold in 1804 to Liverpool banker Thomas Leyland. Some of the Walton land also passed down to the Earl of Derby (see earlier connection) and the Sefton family.
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.
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 Baths and Washhouse, as it was then called, opened in 1909 and remained an iconic late-Victorian boothed pool until its radical renovation. In 1929, 25 September, Marjorie Hinton set the record for the 200 yard breaststroke in its main (olympic) pool.
Walton was also once the location of Walton Hospital, on Rice Lane. Several famous Scousers, including Sir Paul McCartney of Beatles fame, were born at the hospital. The hospital was also a regional centre for neurology and neurosurgery. However, as demand for services continued to increase, the capacity for patient's at the relatively small Walton Hospital site decreased and in 1998, all services were later transferred to the newly built The Walton Centre, located on the same site as Aintree University Hospital in Fazakerley.
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 Labour Party candidate, Peter Kilfoyle, defeat 'Walton Real Labour' candidate Lesley Mahmood, a Militant tendency supporter, 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 Steve Rotherham MP. The majority of councillors representing Walton are Labour.
The Walton area shares borders with a number of other areas, some considered inner-city and some considered outer suburbs, these include Clubmoor, Anfield, Kirkdale, 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 factory are still there today, providing an insight into Walton's industrial past.
Moulded Plastics Company, Dunlop, had its 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 ⅓ 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.
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 railway station situated in Walton Vale and Spellow railway station, on the Canada Dock Branch, near Spellow Lane. Warbreck railway station is no longer in use, and the only remains are on a bicycle path underneath the shops. The path itself is part of the Trans Pennine Trail.
Walton on the Hill railway station was situated by the Queens Drive flyover, on the Rice Lane side heading southbound. Though the railway 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 railway station and on to Sandhills railway station.
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.
Walton is home to Goodison Park football stadium, which was built in 1892 as the first purpose built football stadium in England and the home of Everton Football Club, who have remained there ever since; although little of the original stadium structure now exists. They had previously played at Anfield Stadium on the opposite side of Stanley Park, which then became the home of Liverpool F.C..
- Ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney was born in Walton Hospital
- John Birt, ex-Director General of the BBC, was born in Walton Hospital.
- Gérard Houllier, the ex-Liverpool F.C. manager, and former manager of Aston Villa football club in Birmingham, once taught at Alsop Comprehensive.
- Brian Jacques, children's author of among other titles, The Redwall Series and presenter for Radio City, lived 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.
- Poet Goronwy Owen was a parish curate and schoolmaster in Walton 1753-55.
- Heidi Range, one third of the Sugababes, was born in Walton
- Sir Ken Robinson, Educationalist, was raised at 45 Spellow Lane, Walton and attended Spellow Lane Church
- Neil Robinson, Footballer Everton FC, was born and raised at 45 Spellow Lane, Walton, making him player born closest to the ground and also attended Gwladys Street school 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.
- Doris Lloyd Actress in over 150 films.Died California 1968.
- Liverpool (HM Prison)
- Everton F.C.'s Goodison Park is situated in Walton.
- Walton St Mary Church of England Primary School
- Bosworth, Joseph; Northcote Toller, T. (1898), Germanic Lexicon Project An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, p. 1173, retrieved 28 February 2009
- Farrer, William & Brownbill, J., ed. (1907), A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, Victoria County History, British History Online, pp. 22–28, retrieved 28 February 2009
- A History of Liverpool