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Park History

Park History

The first recorded mansion on this site was called Ashfield, built by James Clemens, an English merchant and shipowner who joined Liverpool Town Council in 1767 and was Mayor in 1775. Here, he entertained many guests at this beautiful home set in pretty gardens. After being rebuilt in 1869 as a Jacobean manor house by Henry Arthur Bright the shipping magnate, it was renamed Thingwall House. Thingwall was from the Viking word ‘Thing’ a reference to its heritage.

Mr Bright authored ‘A Year in a Lancashire Garden’, a book detailing the many plants and trees planted by Mr Bright at the Park. In the 1800s, two special schools moved to the house including Dovecot Horticultural School for Girls. Out of these emerged the Knotty Ash Special Schools Trust for girls.

In 1921 the Trust with its assets was bequeathed by the Bright family to the city of Liverpool on the condition that it was held in trust to be used as a home for ‘girls of feeble minds’. It remained as a girls’ institution until the late 1980s when it was closed for the last time.  Liverpool City Council began transferring the Trust to Liverpool Lighthouse in 2008, which eventually concluded in 2013.  Its name was changed from Knotty Ash Special Schools Trust to Bright Park.      

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