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Two archways and associated stone staircases and retaining walls in Rivington Gardens at SD 6390 1422

A Grade II Listed Building in Rivington, Lancashire

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Latitude: 53.6234 / 53°37'24"N

Longitude: -2.5473 / 2°32'50"W

OS Eastings: 363895

OS Northings: 414230

OS Grid: SD638142

Mapcode National: GBR BVNJ.9V

Mapcode Global: WH97L.V653

Entry Name: Two archways and associated stone staircases and retaining walls in Rivington Gardens at SD 6390 1422

Listing Date: 30 January 1987

Last Amended: 6 February 2013

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1362123

English Heritage Legacy ID: 184428

Location: Rivington, Chorley, Lancashire, BL6

County: Lancashire

District: Chorley

Civil Parish: Rivington

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Rivington

Church of England Diocese: Manchester

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Two archways and associated retaining walls and stone staircases in Rivington Gardens.


Two archways and associated stone steps and flanking walls built from 1906 to a design by Thomas Mawson for Lord Leverhulme as part of Rivington Terraced Gardens. All these features are built of gritstone.

A stone staircase with flanking walls rises eastwards up the hillside from a terraced path a short distance south of a former swimming pool/boating lake before dividing into two staircases, one running north-east the other running south-east. Semi-circular archways are positioned at the lower end of each of these two staircases. Both archways spring from moulded imposts and the voussoirs are of thin gritstone slates, each with five keystones of the same material. Tall, buttressed retaining walls of sandstone rubble flank the staircases, each containing splayed window openings affording views downhill across the gardens. Towards the top the right staircase turns sharply through 90 degrees.


Rivington Gardens was one of a series of three major private gardens produced by Thomas Hayton Mawson (1861-1933) in collaboration with the industrialist and philanthropist William Hesketh Lever, Lord Leverhulme (1851-1925). The Rivington site was purchased by Lever in 1899 as a parcel of land which included the area now occupied by Lever Park to the west. Lever had already formulated ideas on how the grounds might be developed and in 1901 a single-storey wooden bungalow called 'Roynton Cottage' and intended for weekend visits and shooting parties was designed by Lever's school friend Jonathan Simpson. In 1905 Lever met Mawson who collaborated with him in the design of the gardens over the period 1906-22. However, others were also involved in the design including Thomas's son, Edward Prentice Mawson (1885-1954), who undertook the overall design and in the latter years was as much responsible for the project as his father, Robert Atkinson (1883-1952) who drew illustrations in the journal 'Civic Art' in 1911, and the landscape and architectural firm of James Pulham & Son who, in 1921, were responsible for a Japanese style garden and a steep and rugged ravine with waterfalls. Lever himself also influenced the gardens' layout, designing a seven-arched bridge across Roynton Lane.

In 1913 the bungalow was destroyed by fire then rebuilt in a grander scale. Following Lever's death in 1925 the house and gardens were purchased by John Magee. After Magee's death in 1939 the site was acquired by Liverpool Corporation and in 1948 the bungalow and three entrance lodges were demolished and the gardens became open to the public. In 1974 the site passed to the North West Water Authority following local government reorganisation.

The two archways, retaining walls and stone staircases leading from the Orchestra Lawn down to the terraced path a short distance south of the swimming pool/boating lake were constructed from 1906 to a design by Thomas Mawson.

Reasons for Listing

The Two Archways and Associated Retaining Walls To Two Stone Staircases is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architect: this building is a good example of the landscape design work of Thomas Mawson;
* Group value: it is one of a number of features that not only complement each other but are integral components of the designated garden.

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