In medieval times, Garston was home to a group of Benedictine monks. The first recorded mention of settlement in Garston is of the Church of St Michael in 1235. By the 19th century, the area had become a small village, one of the eight townships forming the parish of Childwall.
A small dock was first built at Garston in 1793 for Blackburne's Saltworks, which still stands today.
Garston's growth accelerated rapidly in the 1840s, when in 1846, the area's first dock was constructed and opened, under the auspices of the St Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway Company. The "Old Dock" was followed twenty years later by a second, the "North Dock." The third and final dock, Stalbridge, was opened in 1907. In 1902, Garston was incorporated into the City of Liverpool. The population expanded as migrants flooded in to work on the docks, especially from Ireland.
Today, Garston is a major shipping and container port, with the Port of Garston second only to Liverpool Docks in the North-West. Although inside the city of Liverpool, Garston Docks are not a part of the Port of Liverpool and is regarded as a separate port. Much of the area is also residential, housing being mainly in Victorian terraces with semi-detached homes around Liverpool South Parkway.
Garston is partnered with the nearby district of Speke in a series of redevelopment and regeneration schemes, which have succeeded in reversing trends in dereliction and unemployment. Garston is regularly quoted as one of Liverpool's 'up and coming' areas because of this, and house prices have continued to rise.
Since the demolition of the Red Lion Inn, the oldest remaining buildings in Garston are Seafield Cottages, a row of four cottages on Chapel Road, which date back to at least the 1730s.
Grazing settlement root
Garston as a name of a place may have its etymology informed by both Old English and Norse. The area that Garston was part of during the Viking Danelaw period would have been influenced by Norse speech. When Vikings settled they would sometimes change names because of speech difficulties. For example, the Saxon name for the city Eoforwic was changed to Jorvik. Shelton, was altered to Skelton, though the old English of 'ton' meaning settlement was retained attesting to the development of language over time.
Gar', from Old English (spear, dart, javelin, shaft, arrow, weapon) from Norwegian and Icelandic (spear) and Old Norse geirr (spear, arrow), may suggest that the name of Garston is a combination of Viking and Old English. Another meaning of the name has been suggested as being Gar' (Great) ston' (stone). Therefore meaning "Great Stone". A name possibly meaning the place where spears or arrows were made. In the Anglo Saxon period the forests belong to landowners and their subjects. It wasn't until the coming of William in 1066 that the 'Forest Law' was introduced which claimed woodland as the hunting grounds for kings. Woodland covered approximately 15% of England in 1086 (this had dwindled to just 5.3% in 1905).
Neither of these names may be exclusive and whilst they may have a different etymological ancestry they may simply because of the way language develops have a common history. The etymology of 'garden' is the same as yard and garth and derives from the Old English 'geard', meaning enclosure or hedge. So a hedged enclosure is the exact definition of a garden just as it is of a field.
Geardton (Old English field) or Geirrton (Old Norse spear) or Garton (Old English spear, weapon), all omit the S. S is used in Modern English to suggest plural and possessive. Nouns, noun phrases and some pronouns generally form a possessive with the suffix 's'. This form, is sometimes called the Saxon genitive, reflecting the suffix's derivation from a genitive case ending in Old English (Anglo-Saxon; a clitic).
This suggests at least two possible roots. Firstly one based on grazing as not geographically specific, unlikely to be fenced in, within the periods we are dealing with and secondly one based on specific activity or activities at a given point in a general location spear or arrow or weapon making, which is linked to a settlement, So a settlement where arrows were made is Geirr(s)ton or as it is now known, Garston, e.g. "the place of the arrows".
Garston is home to Liverpool South Parkway railway station, a major interchange station opened in 2006 replacing Garston (1874-2006). Trains operate at regular intervals to the city centre, Southport, Manchester and Birmingham, and other locations. The 86 and 86A bus routes provide regular bus services from Liverpool South Parkway to the surrounding districts and the city centre. A regular bus shuttle to Liverpool John Lennon Airport is available from Liverpool South Parkway railway station.
Garston was home to the 'New Slaughterhouse Gallery' on St. Mary's Road, which aimed to promote local artists as well as community regeneration in partnership with the Garston Embassy on Wellington Street but is now closed. Cressington and Grassendale Parks are nearby, and there is a public swimming pool on Long Lane.
In 1935, when Garston and indeed much of the south of Liverpool was expanding due to the mass development of council housing to replace inner city slums, as well as the significant development of private housing, the new South Liverpool F.C. was formed in 1935 to serve the area and set up base at the Holly Park stadium in Garston. The club went on to win the Welsh Cup in 1939 (despite being an English side and playing in the English non-league systems) and won a host of non-league football competitions over the next 50 years. However, they were forced to sell Holly Park after a fire in 1989 and folded in 1991, only to reform as a junior side in a host of locations in and around the city before settling at a site in Otterspool in 2000.
Although South Liverpool were never successful in their many applications to join the Football League, many of their players went on to play for Football League sides; most notably striker John Aldridge and midfielder Jimmy Case, who won major trophies in the great Liverpool sides of the 1970s and 1980s. Aldridge, locally born but of Irish descent, was also a Republic of Ireland international regular in the late 1980s and early to mid-1990s, representing his adopted country at two World Cups.
A house in Garston was used in creating the artwork for the Arctic Monkeys album Favourite Worst Nightmare. The house and estate has been demolished and new houses occupy the site.
The BBC television serial Lilies was based in Garston.
- John Aldridge, professional footballer
- Billy Ashcroft, professional footballer
- Paul Connolly, professional footballer
- Alex Corina, artist and community worker
- Les Dennis, television personality
- Tony Dodson, professional boxer
- Billy Fury, singer and songwriter
- Dan Haggis, drummer for the Wombats
- Jack Jones, trade union leader
- Liz McClarnon, singer
- Ray McFall, owner of the Cavern Club who first booked the Beatles
- Kevin McLeod, professional footballer
- Steve Morgan, founder of Redrow and former owner of Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Simon O'Brien, actor, presenter, and cyclist
- Pete Price, radio personality
- Barry Sloane, actor
- Rita Tushingham, actress
- John Parrott, professional snooker player
- Alan Parry, sports commentator
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- Don, Monty (27 August 2000). "Cuts to the boundary". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "Etymology of Grass". Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "Lifestyles Garston - Liverpool City Council". Liverpool.gov.uk. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
- "Scuffling Skifflers". 'There Are Places I Remember'. 18 April 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
- Winter Gardens:
- "History - South Liverpool Football Club". Southliverpoolfc.com. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "John Aldridge - Liverpool FC". Liverpoolfc.tv. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "Jimmy Case - Liverpool FC". Liverpoolfc.tv. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- Arctic Monkeys Reveal Album Artwork, Gigwise, 16 March 2007, archived from the original on 27 May 2011, retrieved 19 September 2007
- Saunders Jones, R. (1919). A few interesting details about Garston and district. Liverpool: Rockliff Bros. Ltd.
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