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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

My Pockets were bursting with coins

My Pockets were bursting with coins

When I first started Metal Detecting in the early 1980's I was only a young lad - not that I'm old now :-) However because of this I couldn't travel very far. I lived in the city very close to Sefton Park. This was a very old park with roots going back hundreds of years. In fact nearby districts such as Toxteth and Smithdown could be found mentioned in the Doomsday book of 1086. These names indictaethat the age of the setllements was much older, with Toki Staith thought to be Viking in origin, probably 9th Century, meaning landingplace of Toki and Smithdown meaning 'smooth hill' and thought to be Anglo-Saxon in origin.

In the 13th Century King Edward I enclosed both areas into a deer park to be used for royal hunting. Toxteth was sold by the crown to the Earl of Derby in 1592 who turned the area into farmland and sold the
land in 1604 to Sir Richard Molyneux of Sefton, whose family became the Earls of Sefton in 1771.

The 375 acres for Sefton Park and the surrounding building plots were purchased from the Earl of Sefton and in November 1866 the Corporation announced a public competition for the design of Sefton Park. In May 1867 the first prize was awarded to Messrs. André and Hornblower for a natural, undulating and varied landscape design.The park was officially opened by Prince Arthur in 1872.

It had a lovely Palm House, Boating Lake along with a Band Stand. These were the areas I would concentrate my efforts on. In fact I spent thousands of hours along with other detectorists combing these
areas, for any 'goodies' that my ancestors may have dropped.

The Palm House was built in 1896. The Palm House was a three tiered, octagonal structure of wrought and cast iron on a polished granite base. There was to be some nice finds to come off from around here.
These varied from all kinds of Silver Coinage to decorative brooches etc and Pocket Watch Chains etc I was also fortunate to find a lovely Solid Gold Bracelet.

There was also a Band Stand. This was a joy to detect on. Well not exactly the band stand but the banks opposite. They were on a slope. I could imagine my ancestors sitting there on a Sunday afternoon
listening to the brass bands. I found some lovely silver coins here too. I also found Victorian jewrellry and silver collar studs. It was great that in the 19th century they loved silver so much. It meant that the coins etc came up in such nice condition.

Another area that was good to detect on was the banks of the Boating Lake. Although the items were not quite as old, there was much more coming off. I think this is because for many years people had sat on
the edge of the lake watching the boats. Also the lake was dredged over the years and all the coins etc must have been spread around the banks. There was even a bomb found at one stage.

Bomb Story

Many days I would have to go back to my bag and empty hundreds of coins out of my pockets - because they were too heavy. Over the years I must have found in excess of 5000 coins in the park.

Although I had plenty of good times there and saw dozens of rings found, my favourite time was when 'our kid' found a Victorian Gold Half Sovereign. Although I'd seen thousands of Silver coins I have never seen a gold coin come off the park. This all changed on one Sunday afternoon when he found the coin 6 inches down. It was pouring down with rain and it rounded the day off beautifully.

I was actually involved in doing a Radio Program with Tony Snell a few years ago. I was detecting and he was recording the show. I even helped raise some money for charity (see pic) It was a great experience
and even then I was finding new stuff.

I could go on and on about my times at 'Sevvy Park' and may do more articles in the future.

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