Urban monkey

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Urban monkey seen from Bessbrook Road. April 2014.

Here’s a Liverpool monkey puzzle tree that I have never noticed, and it’s in Ashfield Road, in the grounds of Ash Surgery. I must have driven down this road hundreds if not thousands of times, and never noticed it. My fellow monkey spotter – Jeff Jones – from Liverpool, now living in Hereford, spotted this when he parked in this road, Bessbrook Road, to go for a walk in nearby Otterspool Park. How could I have missed it?!

Well I don’t know that I’ve ever driven down Bessbrook Road before, as approaching Aigburth I drive down Ashfield Road, where I have often noticed the old barn-like building. And was pleased recently to see that work had started on it.

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Ashfield Road.

Next to the old building is a large white house, which is the surgery, and just beyond that on the far left of the photgraph above, is this spendid urban monkey.

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The urban monkey.

If you go into the car park of the surgery, you get this view of it.

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A marvellous urban monkey.

Yes, a lovely urban monkey. I wondered if perhaps when this was a house that the owners planted this as statement of their wealth, that it was indeed an exotic specimen in their front garden. On the 1908 Ordnance Survey map of Liverpool this house has quite large grounds, the newer building visible in the first photograph is built on land that was part of this property. Just across the road you have the entrance to what is now Otterspool Park, where the remains of Otterspool House can be found. (Home to John Moss, slaver, Ronnie has written about this house several times on his blog, his 1820 post can be found here). I wondered whether John Moss might have had a monkey puzzle tree… although there isn’t one in Otterspool Park now (I know, I’ve looked), Jeff Jones remembers playing there when he was a boy and seeing one. Perhaps the residents of the house in Ashfield Road visited Otterspool House and admired their tree and planted one in their own, much more modest grounds?

And I’m very glad to see that it has survived and is still here today. So next time you’re in Ashfield Road, have a look at it.

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Urban monkey, now catalogued – by me – as L20.

*Extremely observant readers to the blog will have noticed that the last catalogued monkey number was L9…. so how come this is L20? Well, the Speke Hall monkeys have boosted the south Liverpool contingent.

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