Did you know that Liverpool has its very own ‘Tunnel of Love’? It has been in place for more than 150 years. The hidden romantic spot – which is an entrance to the city’s Newsham Park – was so-called because it was a place where young, courting couples would have a smooch or steal a little kiss. And in keeping with its romantic feeling, the Tunnel of Love is located near a fruit orchard and birds sing in the surrounding trees.
It’s also in need of some tender loving care. A Tunnel of Love shouldn’t be dirty and unlit. Its very name should give rise to volunteers to clean it up and maintain its romantic image. Community volunteer Karen Henley, 39, who is also a director for community group Tree House, recently drew a map of the park in its original 1868 format. The map was recently installed on a stand, near to the lake, inside the 121 acre park as a reference point for park users.
Karen said: “I recently drew a map of the park after we got some funding and I started wondering what to call different areas so people knew where to meet someone”. “I asked around and people would say that this was called the ‘Tunnel of Love’ because people used to come down here and do their courting. So it was a place where people stole a little kiss as the train went over head.”
The Tunnel of Love is a main public footpath and cycle path entrance into the Victorian park, located on the park’s eastern side, off Orphan Drive. It was created in 1866 under the Canada Dock Branch railway line and it stands to the right hand side of the abandoned Newsham Park Hospital and Orphanage. It is still used today by residents of Tuebrook, Stoneycroft and Old Swan to gain access to the park from Balmoral Crescent and Brainerd Street, which connects to Green Lane. There are still stolen kisses and embraces inside the tunnel, as well.
Even though the Tunnel of Love is regularly used, local residents say that that tunnel is itself in need of some tender loving care. Local resident Michael Ryan runs a Facebook site called Save Newsham Park. He said: “We would like to make the entrance a very welcoming entrance to our lovely park. We need help to keep it clean and make it look inviting”.
If you’re a romantic and want to help restore Liverpool’s Tunnel of Love, now is your chance. I think we all have a spot of romanticism in us and, hopefully, an itch to volunteer some time.