Sefton Park covers an area of approximately 110 hectares. Historically it formed part of the ancient Toxteth Deer Park. In the 1860s, land was purchased by the Council from the Earl of Sefton and Mr Livingstone to create Sefton Park.
In November 1866 the brief for the competition to design the Park was issued. The first prize was 300 guineas. The winner was the partnership of the French landscape architect Edouard André, the Gardener-in-Chief for Paris, and Lewis Hornblower, a Liverpool architect. The cost of their design was estimated at £85,000, but in reality it cost approximately £147,000 to complete. The Park was opened on 20 May 1872 by His Royal Highness Prince Arthur.
The Eros Fountain is a replica of a memorial to Lord Shaftesbury (1801-1885), created by Sir Alfred Gilbert in London’s Piccadilly Circus.
George Audley of Liverpool was so impressed by Eros that he commissioned a replica to be made for Sefton Park, adding to his earlier gift to the Park of the Peter Pan statue (1928). The fountain was unveiled in 1932.
The figure sitting on top of the fountain is Anteros, one of the Greek Gods of Requited Love, which has become (incorrectly) known as Eros. The aluminium Eros here is a replacement of the original, which was too badly corroded for outdoor use and is now on display in the National Conservation Centre, Liverpool. The original represents an early use of aluminium sculpture. The fountain was restored in 2008.
Gilbert is said to have preferred the Sefton Park Eros due to its beautiful setting and because its jets of water were closer to his original idea.
The Grade II* listed Palm House was opened in 1896 and originally featured a collection of exotic plants. It suffered damage during World War II, when, in 1941, the glass was shattered from a bomb exploding close by. Re-glazing was carried out in 1950 but the conservatory was to later fall into disrepair and was closed in the 1980s. Following a fund-raising campaign, repairs were carried out and the Palm House reopened in 1993. And in 2001 it again reopened after a full restoration supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.