St Michael's Church, Garston
Garston is located in Merseyside
Location within Merseyside
OS grid referenceSJ405842
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtL19
Dialling code0151
AmbulanceNorth West
UK Parliament
List of places
53°21′04″N 2°53′38″W / 53.351°N 2.894°W / 53.351; -2.894

Garston is a district of Liverpool, England. Historically in Lancashire, it is bordered by the suburbs of Grassendale, Allerton, and Speke. It lies on the Eastern banks of the River Mersey.


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 1903, Garston was incorporated into the City of Liverpool.[1] The population expanded as migrants flooded in to work on the docks, especially from Ireland.


Today, Garston is a 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,[2] which have succeeded in reversing trends in dereliction and unemployment, and house prices have continued to rise.


Grazing settlement root

Gaerstun, meaning 'grazing settlement' or 'grazing farm' in Old English, is one possible root of the name.[3]

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.[4]

Spear root

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).[5]

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.[6]

Etymological conclusions

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'.[7] 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).[8] 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.[9]

A former venue, the Winter Gardens (since demolished), opposite the police station in Heald Street, hosted concerts, dances and other public events.[10][11]


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 various locations in and around the city before settling at a site in Otterspool in 2000.[12]

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[13] and midfielder Jimmy Case,[14] 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.

Cultural references

A house in Garston was used in creating the artwork for the Arctic Monkeys album Favourite Worst Nightmare.[15] The house and estate have been demolished and new houses occupy the site.[16]

Notable residents

See also


  1. ^ "Townships: Garston | British History Online".
  2. ^ "New vision for Garston". 19 March 2014.
  3. ^ Local History - Liverpool Villages, BBC, retrieved 19 September 2007
  4. ^ "Jorvik Name Change". Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  5. ^ van der Zee, Bibi (27 July 2013). "England's forests: a brief history of trees". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  6. ^ Don, Monty (27 August 2000). "Cuts to the boundary". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Etymology of Grass". Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Disused Stations: Garston Station".
  9. ^ "Lifestyles Garston - Liverpool City Council". Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  10. ^ "Scuffling Skifflers". There Are Places I Remember. 18 April 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  11. ^ Winter Gardens: 53°21′18″N 2°53′58″W / 53.35513°N 2.89931°W / 53.35513; -2.89931 (Winter Gardens, Garston)
  12. ^ "History - South Liverpool Football Club". Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  13. ^ "John Aldridge - Liverpool FC". Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Jimmy Case - Liverpool FC". Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  15. ^ Arctic Monkeys Reveal Album Artwork, Gigwise, 16 March 2007, archived from the original on 27 May 2011, retrieved 19 September 2007
  16. ^ Ltd, Flint Studios. "SLH home is the star of Arctic Monkeys' 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' album cover". Retrieved 30 April 2022.

Further reading