The original structure was built on the site that is now home to Derby Square and the Queen Victoria Monument, just west of the Liverpool One shopping and leisure complex. By the early part of the eighteenth century most of the original fortification had been destroyed or demolished.
The Rivington replica was commissioned in 1912 by William Hesketh Lever (Lord Leverhulme), a philanthropist and the founder of Lever Brothers (now Unilever). It is a folly and was never intended to be completed. It was meant to look like a ruin that had stood for years. Work on the project was slow with only a handful of labourers allocated to it. Construction work ceased when Lever died in 1925 and the castle never reached the state of completion he envisaged.
Signs all around the site advise visitors not to climb the walls. Whenever we’ve visited there’s nearly always been a handful of kids taking no notice of the guidance. Well-behaved children seem quite happy to explore the castle’s keep, towers, passages, nooks and crannies. Illegal night-time raves and parties here are not unheard of.
Liverpool Castle is situated on the eastern bank of Lower Rivington Reservoir on a promontory known as Coblowe. Lever believed this site bore a resemblance to the site of the original castle.
The quickest way to get to Liverpool Castle is to drive to the car park on Rivington Lane (just north of Rivington and Blackrod High School – postcode BL6 7RU). Parking is free. The castle can be reached from here by following a 700-yard, tree-lined footpath. It’s a picturesque walk and doesn’t take long.
Several other paths through Lever Park lead to the castle. Our walk around Rivington takes in Liverpool Castle plus Lower Rivington Reservoir, Rivington Hall Barn, Rivington Hall, the Great House Barn Tea Room and Gift Shop, and the Great House Information Centre (United Utilities).