Remembering Professor Robert Lee

We regret to announce that Birkenhead Park recently lost its most devoted and vital advocate: Professor Robert Lee (1946- 2024), former Chair and President of the Friends of Birkenhead Park.

In his own words, Birkenhead Park has been part of Robert’s world for a very long time, and indeed, he was born and raised on the outskirts of the Park, 334 Park Road North, before moving to his parents’ first (and only) house, 37 Park Road South. In the eighties, his wife Kicki and he moved to Cavendish Road, where they raised their 4 children.

This life-time connexion to Birkenhead Park surely influenced Robert’s interest for the world’s first publicly funded municipal park. By the mid-eighties, he was already a committed member of the Friends of Birkenhead Park, at a time when the Park was suffering from reduced funding and rising levels of anti-social behaviour.

Robert was an Emeritus Professor at the Department of History, University of Liverpool, with a particular expertise in social history. He developed an extensive knowledge about the Park’s history, which he gathered in the first critical and comprehensive book about the Park: Birkenhead Park: The People’s Garden and an English Masterpiece, published a couple of months ago by Liverpool University Press.

Robert is the mastermind behind the UNESCO World Heritage bid for Birkenhead Park. It is a project he strongly believed in and actively and enthusiastically supported, becoming a key member of Birkenhead Park’s World Heritage Steering Group to drive forward the ambition. His efforts were rewarded in April 2023 when the UK Government announced that Birkenhead Park, the pioneering People’s Park, was shortlisted to be nominated to UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The legacy he left is immense and will not be forgotten.