Edward Kemp

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Edward Kemp (25 September 1817 – 1 March 1891) was an English landscape architect and an author. Together with Joseph Paxton and Edward Milner, Kemp became one of the leaders in the design of parks and gardens during the mid-Victorian era in England.[1]


Kemp was born at Streatham, Surrey (now Lambeth), the son of Charles Kemp, a tailor, and his wife, Ann.[1] Nothing is known about his education or early career.[2] In the 1830s he worked with Edward Milner as a garden apprentice at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire under Joseph Paxton.[1] In 1841 Kemp was living back in Streatham, giving his occupation in the census of that year as "gardener". Around that time he was involved with botanical and gardening publications, including The Gardening Magazine. In August 1843 the Improvement Commissioners of Birkenhead appointed Paxton to plan and construct Birkenhead Park.[2] This was the first park to have been provided in Britain at public expense.[3][4] Paxton appointed Kemp to be superintendent of the park, and Kemp took up this post in September 1843 when he was aged 25. Paxton was responsible for the overall planning and design, while Kemp was involved with the day to day implementation of the plans. By the summer of 1845 Paxton's work was more or less complete, and he recommended to the Commissioners that Kemp be retained as superintendent and to be provided with a residence; this was accepted.[2]

In September 1845 Kemp took leave of absence to marry Sophia, daughter of Henry Bailey who had been park steward and gardener to the Spencer family at Althorp House. When Kemp returned to Birkenhead, his work was not fully occupying his time, and he became involved with planning a residential park estate, Carlett Park, at Eastham in the Wirral. The plans were not realised, and the Commissioners were unhappy that Kemp had become involved in private practice. Birkenhead Park was opened officially in April 1847, and in 1849 the Commissioners decided that a superintendent of parks was no longer required. However Kemp negotiated a settlement that he should work for no salary, but remain in his residence at Italian Lodge plus be given a small plot of land for him to cultivate for his needs. This was agreed, but Kemp had to find sources of income; this was to result in his becoming an author and a landscape gardener.[2]

Kemp's first recorded commission was in 1849 when he designed a rose garden for James Barratt on the grounds of Lymm Hall, Lymm, Cheshire. The following year he worked with the architect Charles Verelst to design the garden at Stanacres (now Thornton Court) in Raby. Also in 1850 came Kemp's first publication, How to Lay Out a Small Garden. Following this came a succession of garden designs and publications. In 1858 a second edition of his book was published (now entitled How to Lay Out a Garden) and, although he was still working for the park, the Commissioners reviewed the agreement to provide him with free accommodation. Kemp then agreed to build a house for himself adjoining the park, and he moved into this house (now 74 Park Road West) in 1860.[2]

Kemp's clients were mainly the newly rich, but he also gained commissions for the designs of parks and cemeteries. These included Flaybrick Hill Cemetery in Birkenhead, Grosvenor Park in Chester, Congleton Park in Congleton, and Queen's Park in Crewe.[2] Kemp's work influenced other garden designers, including Thomas Hayton Mawson, who designed Hanley Park in Stoke-on-Trent.[1] Kemp died at his home in Birkenhead Park in 1891 and was buried in Flaybrick Cemetery.[2] His estate amounted to nearly £10,500 (equivalent to £1,050,000 in 2016).[5][1]



Key to the Grades in the list
Grade Criteria[6]
Parks and gardens that are particularly important, of more than special interest
Parks and gardens of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them
List of the gardens and other works, locations, year of construction, and notes.
Name and
town or village
County and
Photograph Date Notes and present state
Carlett Park
53°19′13″N 2°57′42″W / 53.3202°N 2.9616°W / 53.3202; -2.9616 (Carlett Park)
1846 Plans were prepared for William Laird, but the development was never built.[2]
Lymm Hall
53°22′47″N 2°28′35″W / 53.3798°N 2.4765°W / 53.3798; -2.4765 (Lymm Hall)
1849 This was Kemp's first completed commission, for James Barratt. It consisted of a flower (or rose) garden. Its present condition is unknown.[2][7][8]
Thornton Hough
53°19′02″N 3°02′01″W / 53.3171°N 3.0337°W / 53.3171; -3.0337 (Stanacres)
1850 Designed for Owen Jones, Liverpool timber merchant. Now Thornton Court. Its present condition is not known.[2][9]
Lytham Hall
Lytham St Annes
53°44′39″N 2°58′35″W / 53.7442°N 2.9765°W / 53.7442; -2.9765 (Lytham Hall)
Lytham Hall.jpg c. 1850 Laid out the drive.[10]
53°11′18″N 2°52′49″W / 53.1882°N 2.8803°W / 53.1882; -2.8803 (Limegrove)
1853 Designed for Robert Frost, Chester flour miller, in Lower Park Road, Queen's Park, Chester, next door to Redcliff (now Lindengrove). The present state is not known.[2]
53°11′18″N 2°52′49″W / 53.1882°N 2.8803°W / 53.1882; -2.8803 (Redcliff)
1853 Designed for Thomas Gibbons Frost, Chester flour miller, in Lower Park Road, Queen's Park, Chester, next door to Limegrove. The present state is not known.[2]
Halton Grange
53°19′59″N 2°43′19″W / 53.3330°N 2.7219°W / 53.3330; -2.7219 (Halton Grange)
Halton Grange, Runcorn.jpg 1853–54 Designed for Thomas Johnson, soap and alkali manufacturer of John & Thomas Johnson. Now a public park adjacent to Runcorn Town Hall. Most of the garden as planned by Kemp has been destroyed.[2][11]
Capernwray Hall
54°08′34″N 2°41′47″W / 54.1427°N 2.6965°W / 54.1427; -2.6965 (Capernwray Hall)
Capernwray Hall.jpg 1855 For the Marton family.[12][13]
Park Place
53°17′33″N 2°43′48″W / 53.2924°N 2.7300°W / 53.2924; -2.7300 (Park Place)
1855 Commissioned by Joseph Stubs, a manufacturer of engineers' tools in Warrington. The house was later known as Castle Park and the gardens are a public park. The essential elements of Kemp's design are still present.[2][14][15]
Norley Hall
53°15′08″N 2°39′14″W / 53.2522°N 2.6540°W / 53.2522; -2.6540 (Norley Hall)
1855–56 For Samuel Woodhouse. Present condition not known.[2]
Mollington Banastre
53°12′59″N 2°55′07″W / 53.2165°N 2.9185°W / 53.2165; -2.9185 (Mollington Banastre)
1856 For Philip Stapleton Humberston, Mayor of Chester and Member of Parliament for Chester. The house is currently a hotel, and at least some of the garden remains.[2][16]
Agden Hall
53°21′55″N 2°25′46″W / 53.3653°N 2.4295°W / 53.3653; -2.4295 (Agden Hall)
c. 1856 For Thomas Sebastian Bazley. No further details known.[2]
Glan Aber
Hough Green,
53°10′37″N 2°55′38″W / 53.1770°N 2.9273°W / 53.1770; -2.9273 (Glan Aber)
c.1857 For Enoch Robert Gibbon Salisbury. No further details known.[2]
St Helens Cemetery
St Helens
53°28′02″N 2°45′44″W / 53.4673°N 2.7621°W / 53.4673; -2.7621 (St Helens Cemetery)
St Helens cemetery - geograph.org.uk - 1823598.jpg 1858 For St Helens Burial Board.[17]
53°07′06″N 2°38′45″W / 53.1183°N 2.6459°W / 53.1183; -2.6459 (Foxdale)
1860 For William Boulton Aspinall.. No further details known.[2]
Waterloo House
53°20′32″N 2°44′15″W / 53.3422°N 2.7376°W / 53.3422; -2.7376 (Waterloo House)
Waterloo House, Runcorn.jpg 1860 For Charles Hazlehurst, soap and alkali manufacturer of Hazlehurst & Sons. Now built up.[2]
Anfield Cemetery
53°26′20″N 2°57′29″W / 53.439°N 2.958°W / 53.439; -2.958 (Anfield Cemetery)
Anfield Cemetery Feb 11 2010 (12).jpg 1863 For Liverpool Burial Board. Still functioning as a cemetery.[2][18][19] It is listed Grade II*.[20] It is on the Heritage at Risk Register.[21]
Pyrgo Park
Greater London
51°37′10″N 0°11′56″W / 51.6195°N 0.1990°W / 51.6195; -0.1990 (Pyrgo Park)
Havering atte Bower Pyrgo Park.jpg
1863 For Joseph Bray. Now a public park.[22]
Flaybrick Cemetery
53°24′00″N 3°03′54″W / 53.400°N 3.065°W / 53.400; -3.065 (Flaybrick Cemetery)
Flaybrick Chapel - geograph.org.uk - 1405238.jpg
1864 For Birkenhead's Improvement Commissioners. Still functioning as a cemetery.[2][23][24] It is listed Grade II*.[25]
Southport Cemetery
53°38′06″N 2°59′52″W / 53.6351°N 2.9978°W / 53.6351; -2.9978 (Southport Cemetery)
Duke Street Cemetery - geograph.org.uk - 1533821.jpg 1865 Still in use as a cemetery.[26]
Grosvenor Park Chester Cheshire
53°11′26″N 2°52′53″W / 53.1905°N 2.8815°W / 53.1905; -2.8815 (Grosvenor Park, Chester)
ChesterGrosvPark1.JPG 1867 The land and the design of the park were paid for by Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster. Still open as a public park. It is listed Grade II.[2][27][28][29]
Newsham Park
53°25′08″N 2°56′24″W / 53.419°N 2.940°W / 53.419; -2.940 (Newsham Park)
Newsham Park 006.jpg 1868 Designed for the Liverpool Improvement Committee. It continues in use as a public park and had been designated Grade II.[30][31] The park is on the Heritage at Risk Register.[32]
Hesketh Park
53°39′22″N 2°59′17″W / 53.6562°N 2.9880°W / 53.6562; -2.9880 (Hesketh Park)
Plants, Hesketh Park 2.JPG 1868 For the Southport Improvement Commissioners, possibly assisted by Joseph Paxton. It is still used a public park and is designated Grade II.[33][34][35][36]
Stanley Park
53°26′07″N 2°57′48″W / 53.4353°N 2.9633°W / 53.4353; -2.9633 (Stanley Park)
Stanley Park Feb 11 2010 (10).jpg 1870 For Liverpool Corporation. Designated Grade II.[37][38]
Congleton Park
53°10′00″N 2°12′28″W / 53.1666°N 2.2079°W / 53.1666; -2.2079 (Congleton Park)
Jubilee Pavilion, Congleton Park - geograph.org.uk - 1477190.jpg
1871 Designed with William Blackshaw, the town surveyor, for the town council. It is still open as a public park, and has been designated at Grade II.[2][39][40]
Massey Hall
53°22′37″N 2°30′59″W / 53.3770°N 2.5165°W / 53.3770; -2.5165 (Massey Hall)
1874 Designed for Peter Rylands, MP for Warrington, and a member of a family running a wire-drawing works. The garden remains much as it was when Kemp designed it.[2]
Saltwell Park
Tyne and Wear
54°56′42″N 1°36′22″W / 54.945°N 1.606°W / 54.945; -1.606 (Saltwell Park)
Saltwell Park - geograph.org.uk - 70763.jpg 1876 Designed for Gateshead Council. It continues in use as a public park and is designated at Grade II.[41]
Queen's Park, Crewe Cheshire
53°05′49″N 2°28′12″W / 53.097°N 2.470°W / 53.097; -2.470 (Queen's Park, Crewe)
Lake at Queen's Park, Crewe - geograph.org.uk - 247623.jpg 1888 Designed for Crewe Municipal Borough Council, following negotiations by Francis Webb with the London and North Western Railway to donate the land. The park is still in public use and is designated as Grade II.[2][42][43]
54°37′13″N 3°07′54″W / 54.6202°N 3.1317°W / 54.6202; -3.1317 (Underscar)
Underscar Hotel - geograph.org.uk - 81151.jpg Unknown Now the grounds of a hotel.[44]
51°43′42″N 0°28′16″W / 51.7284°N 0.4711°W / 51.7284; -0.4711 (Shendish)
Shendish Manor - geograph.org.uk - 1513395.jpg Unknown Now the grounds of a hotel. Kemp's design has more or less survived.[45]
Dibbinsdale Bank
Allport Road
53°19′22″N 2°58′52″W / 53.3229°N 2.9812°W / 53.3229; -2.9812 (Dibbinsdale Bank)
Unknown For George Whitley. No further details known.[2]
Lead Works
Egerton Street
53°11′42″N 2°53′03″W / 53.1949°N 2.8842°W / 53.1949; -2.8842 (Lead Works, Chester)
Unknown For Edward Walker. No further details known.[2]
Daylesford House
51°56′09″N 1°37′54″W / 51.9358°N 1.6316°W / 51.9358; -1.6316 (Daylesford House)
Daylesford House - geograph.org.uk - 1951512.jpg Unknown Kemp designed the terrace garden.[46]
Ledsham Hall
53°15′45″N 2°57′52″W / 53.2625°N 2.9645°W / 53.2625; -2.9645 (Ledsham Hall)
Unknown No further details known.[2]
(details unknown)
Newton, Chester
53°12′37″N 2°52′03″W / 53.2102°N 2.8674°W / 53.2102; -2.8674 (Newton residence)
Unknown For James Ball. No further details known.[2]
Bank House
53°20′27″N 2°44′05″W / 53.3409°N 2.7347°W / 53.3409; -2.7347 (Bank House)
Bank House Runcorn.jpg Unknown Designed for John Johnson, soap and alkali manufacturer of John & Thomas Johnson. Only a small portion still remains.[2]
Knightshayes Court
50°55′34″N 3°28′52″W / 50.9260°N 3.4811°W / 50.9260; -3.4811 (Knightshayes Court)
Knightshayes Garden Pond.jpg Unknown Features designed by Kemp include the terraced gardens, an American Garden, and the kitchen garden.[47]
Leighton Hall
52°38′02″N 3°07′17″W / 52.6338°N 3.1215°W / 52.6338; -3.1215 (Leighton Hall)
Lodge and drive to Leighton Hall - geograph.org.uk - 252085.jpg Unknown For John Naylor.[48][49]



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  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af Davey, Elizabeth (2010), ""A Complete and Constant Superintendence": The Cheshire Parks and Gardens of Edward Kemp (1817–1891)", Cheshire History, Cheshire Local History Association (50), pp. 71–99, ISSN 0141-8696 
  3. ^ Pevsner & Hubbard 2003, p. 91.
  4. ^ Green Flag Parks and Open Spaces, Wirral Council, archived from the original on 12 August 2013, retrieved 14 December 2010 
  5. ^ UK Consumer Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved November 6, 2017. 
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  9. ^ Pevsner & Hubbard 2003, p. 318.
  10. ^ Hartwell & Pevsner 2009, p. 438.
  11. ^ Anon (1990), Runcorn Town Hall: A History and Description, Halton Borough Council 
  12. ^ Hartwell & Pevsner 2009, pp. 201–202.
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  15. ^ Hawkin, W. R.; Duncan, N. (1989), Discovering Castle Park, Frodsham: The Frodsham & District Local History Group 
  16. ^ Mollington Banastre Hotel and Spa, Mollington Banastre Hotel and Spa, retrieved 17 December 2010 
  17. ^ St Helens Borough Cemetery, (also known as Borough Cemetery, Windleshaw Cemetery and St Helen's Cemetery), Merseyside, England, Parks and Gardens Data Services, retrieved 18 December 2010 
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  19. ^ Anfield Cemetery, Martin Doherty, retrieved 17 December 2010 
  20. ^ Anfield Cemetery, (also known as Liverpool Cemetery), Liverpool, England, Parks and Gardens Data Services, retrieved 17 December 2010 
  21. ^ Anfield Cemetery, Anfield, Liverpool, English Heritage, retrieved 17 December 2010 
  22. ^ Pyrgo Park, Lost Heritage, retrieved 17 December 2010 
  23. ^ Flaybrick Memorial Gardens, Flaybrick Cemetery, retrieved 16 December 2010 
  24. ^ Pevsner & Hubbard 2003, p. 95.
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  30. ^ Pollard & Pevsner 2006, pp. 250, 426.
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  33. ^ Hartwell & Pevsner 2009, pp. 50, 629.
  34. ^ Hesketh Park, Southport, Merseyside, England, Parks and Gardens Data Services, retrieved 18 December 2010 
  35. ^ Hesketh Park Southport, Sefton Council, retrieved 18 December 2010 
  36. ^ Hartwell & Pevsner 2009, p. 629.
  37. ^ Pollard & Pevsner 2006, pp. 250, 395–397.
  38. ^ Stanley Park, Anfield, Liverpool, England, Parks and Gardens Data Services, retrieved 18 December 2010 
  39. ^ Congleton Park, Congleton Town Council, retrieved 18 December 2010 
  40. ^ Congleton Park, Congleton, England, Parks and Gardens Data Services, retrieved 18 December 2010 
  41. ^ Saltwell Park, (also known as People's Park), Gateshead, England, Parks and Gardens Data Services, retrieved 18 December 2010 
  42. ^ Welcome to Queen's Park, Crewe, Queen's Park, Crewe, retrieved 18 December 2010 
  43. ^ Queen's Park, Crewe, Stoke-on-Trent, England, Parks and Gardens Data Services, retrieved 18 December 2010 
  44. ^ Underscar Hotel, Garden Visit, retrieved 19 December 2010 
  45. ^ Shendish, Garden Visit, retrieved 19 December 2010 
  46. ^ Daylesford House, Moreton-In-Marsh, England, Parks and Gardens Data Services, retrieved 18 December 2010 
  47. ^ Knightshayes Court, Tiverton, England, Parks and Gardens Data Services, retrieved 18 December 2010 
  48. ^ Leighton Hall, Welshpool, Welshpool, Wales, Parks and Gardens Data Services, retrieved 18 December 2010 
  49. ^ Leighton Hall – A History, BBC, archived from the original on 6 October 2011, retrieved 18 December 2010