Coronation Walk today is a wide street taking traffic between the Promenade and Lord Street, lined with mainly 20th century buildings. But it began as a sandy path, from the earliest houses in Southport to the seashore.
A sandy path
The street was originally a curving path running through the sandhills to the sea – one of the first links between what became Lord Street and the Promenade. In 1812 Samuel Whiteley opened his Repository – shop, library, wine and porter vault, warehouse – midway along the path. It was Samuel Whiteley who first built a solid embankment to protect his business and home from flooding, and inspired the earliest part of the Promenade, from the top of Coronation Walk to Nevill Street.
This stretch of sea and sand defences combined with a place to stroll opened in the 1830s. At the Coronation Walk end was the elegant Lodge, where visitors paid a penny toll to walk along the Promenade. Another payment of a penny gained access to the roof terrace, and there was also a shop selling toys and sweets.
You might think this wide street, with its Edwardian and interwar buildings, was named for the coronations of Edward VII or George V. But the name goes back to 1820 and a coronation that didn’t even happen! George IV became king in 1820, but because he was determined his wife should not become queen, the planned coronation was delayed for a year.
The Winter Gardens
In the 1870s, the Winter Gardens leisure complex was built to the south of Coronation Walk. The main access was from Lord Street – where Kingsway is now – and led to a vast conservatory and a pavilion where concerts were held. The wall and trees in the photo at the top mark the edge of the site.
More pictures and information at Built on Sand – Coronation Walk