Willow hurdles for the island

How it begins

Old and young help make the hurdles.

Choose your willow

Choose your willow to weave between the upright posts.

Finished hurdle

The finished hurdles will be put in place on the island to help protect wildlife. Thanks to all volunteers for their work.

Princes Park - New Bridge

Nelson Mandela's daughter and granddaughter spoke movingly about how much this bridge/island space means for his memory and thanked the people of Liverpool for their struggle against apartheid. They spoke about the importance of gardens to Nelson Mandela and of building bridges and respecting differences. 

As Chair of FOPP I feel sure that we can go forward together, ensuring that the island space is used for education about wildlife and the environment and ensuring that wildlife on the island is protected. I feel that both Mandeal8 and Liverpool City Council fully understand the importance of maintaining safe havens on the island for wildlife, and we will be inspecting the island together in the near future to come up with concrete actions to ensure this as much as possible.

  Below is a photo of the Mandela family with Sonia Bassey and Stephen Nze from Mandela8, the architect and Liam Robinson, leader of Liverpool City Council, and an inscription on one of the limestone seats on the island.
Katy Gardner

Mandela inscription

Liverpool City Council has issued a list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers regarding the Mandela 8 Project. You can read them by clicking the link below.


A statement from Friends of Princes Park

The Mandela8 bridge and island memorial space

Work has begun on the Mandela 8 bridge and island space. This project was originally closely linked to the refurbishing of the lake in 2020. The lake funding was contingent on the Mandela8 project. Sadly, because of Covid and other factors, the Mandela8 project was delayed, while all park users were delighted by the improvements to the lake.  

So, in the meantime we have experienced the huge benefits to wildlife as result of the lake refurbishment and borehole insertion. While the current works will inevitably be disruptive, FOPP have been assured by Liverpool City  Council that, at all times, wildlife will be protected. FOPP has asked for the results of a very recent bird survey carried out by the Council.

In 1842, when the park opened, postcards from that time show a beautiful bridge to the island  at the site where the new bridge will be. Over the years that bridge fell into disrepair.

As Chair of FOPP I am supportive of the Mandela8 project. It should create a peaceful and beautiful space for learning and reflection on the island (see FAQ attached on website), linking the park forever to the memory of Nelson Mandela, and the anti-apartheid campaign that so many local people were involved in. In 2013, when Nelson Mandela died, the local community created a moving memorial to him at the Sunburst Gates. We (FOPP) dedicated the trees we were planting at the time to his memory. Since that time the Mandela family has visited the park on several occasions to celebrate Mandela day., hosted by Mandela8. Since that time Mandela8 has worked on many projects, particularly involving young people, to celebrate his legacy and values. The works in Princes Park are part of this.

As FOPP we have liaised with the Council and Mandela8 regularly over these past few years. As part of the project, we have been asking for improvements to the park infrastructure, more and better bins, better signage, both within the park and to the park, and other assets like e.g. a mobile café.

We were not aware, until recently, that work was due to begin but FAQ on this website provide a full update.  The works should be partly ready for an official launch by the Mandela family in the week of July 18th .

We are aware that there have been some concerns about this project. I very much hope that the above and attached explain the origins of this project, and FOPP involvement. For more detailed information concerning the bridge and lake please see the attachments on this site and the Mandela 8 website: www.mandela8.org.uk/nelson-mandela-memorial-faq/

Katy Gardner, Chair FOPP

Mandela Memorial Plans backed by The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Mandela8 Project

Mandela8 are delighted to have been awarded £95k from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to establish and deliver a major oral history programme ensuring the history and stories of community activists in Toxteth and their first-hand memories of anti-apartheid struggles are told. The project will record the memories of Princes Park, collect photos and memorabilia and deliver a range of engagement activities with people of all ages to ensure we have a long lasting digital educational resource for many years to come.

 The project will create employment opportunities and develop 15 heritage research volunteers with support and training from National Museums Liverpool. 15 young people will also be provided with digital skills training to support recording of heritage stories.

Sonia Bassey, MBE Mandela8 Chair said:

 “We are excited to get started with this project that will leave a lasting legacy for our community so they continue to know the valuable contribution activists in communities made to society and social justice long after we are gone”.

“We are delighted with the additional funding secured for the engagement programme for the Nelson Mandela memorial. It will be a truly inclusive centrepiece of the park, ensuring his legacy, values and ideals are formally marked, promoting social and racial understanding, tolerance and tackling issues around cultural diversity.”

David Renwick, Director of England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: 

“Communities are at the heart of the projects we invest in, and we are proud to be supporting Mandela8 in their project to remember and record important stories of anti-apartheid struggles. The project not only ensures that these memories will be safeguarded, but also share them with the next generation of the community.”

Heather Ring, Director, Wayward said: 

“Wayward is deeply honoured to be selected to design the Nelson Mandela Memorial, Liverpool. This important remembrance is for future generations to discover how the men and women in the great City of Liverpool stood with Nelson Mandela throughout his struggle to end apartheid and heal a fractured nation. The design of the memorial reflects upon the gardens Mandela tended to while incarcerated, notably in oil drums at Pollsmoor Prison, which stood as symbols of resistance, tools for resilience, spaces for reflection and platforms for community.”

Mandela8 Project

An important part of the Mandela8 project will be the building of a bridge to link the island of the Princes Park lake to the main footpaths around it. Reflecting on Mandela's incarceration on Robben island, the bridge is representative of his  life works and struggles which were all about building bridges, connecting people and breaking down barriers.

  • The Memorial will:
  •  Be installed in a garden setting as Nelson Mandela established gardens in Pollsmoor prison and it was one of the few things he could control. 
  • Be made of limestone which was the stone Nelson Mandela quarried in prison.
  • Have 32 cylindrical pillars for seating as Nelson Mandela used 16 oil drums cut in half to cultivate 32 planters to make his gardens in prison. These planters were cleverly used to hide and get his manuscripts out of prison. 32 also represents the size of a UK classroom.
  • Have a pavilion representing the tutor and in prison people would gather round in a circle to listen and be taught disguising or hiding the tutor.