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Published April 14th 2016
Inspired By The Serpentine But With Its Own Cathedral
Regular visitors to London will find something familiar in the Staffordshire cathedral city of Lichfield. For Lichfield's delightful Minster Pool was apparently inspired by The Serpentine in London's Hyde Park following a visit to the capital by the poet Anna Seward in 1772.
Minster Pool is actually thought to predate mediaeval times, and has been used over the centuries for the defence of Lichfield Cathedral, as well as a fishery, powering a mill and for industry. But it is said that Anna Seward was instrumental in landscaping Minster Pool to give it its curving snake-like shape following her 18th century visit to Hyde Park.
The poet is also credited in developing New Walk, which was later renamed Minster Pool Walk. Today, Minster Pool Walk, which runs alongside the water's edge, is lined with trees that are lit up at night. With stunning views across Minster Pool towards Lichfield Cathedral as well as towards the Garden of Remembrance, it is a great place to find a bench or have a picnic and either take in the scenery or watch the world go by.
Relax on a bench and watch the view over Minster Pool and Lichfield Cathedral beyond
Visitors can also enjoy the accompany of the varied water fowl that Minster Pool is home to, including ducks, swans, geese and gulls. It is clearly a popular pastime for people, especially children, to feed the birds through gaps in the metal railings that surround the pool. And it is looking better than ever following extensive renovation in 2010 thanks to a multi-million pound grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund.
A delightful view of the cathedral across the water
The Remembrance Garden, which lies at the end of Minster Pool Walk opposite Beacon Park, was opened in 1955 in memory of Lichfield citizens who lost their lives during the Second World War and later conflicts. It was created by using land from the long gardens of adjacent houses and is a lovely tranquil spot in itself.
The Remembrance Garden next to Minster Pool, with Lichfield Cathedral beyond
At the opposite end of Minster Pool Walk can be found Speakers Corner Lichfield which was launched in May 2009 with the help of the Speakers' Corner Trust. Hundreds of people joined in the celebrations which featured more than 30 speeches, musical and dance performances, as well as guest appearances including former Coronation Street star Chris Walker.
Today, Speakers' Corner is a site for events and activities, as well as a destination for all the community to visit and have their say on topics close to their hearts. Since the launch, a plaque has been unveiled at the site, along with a code of conduct. The whole Minster Pool area was recently given a facelift, including laying a new stone plaque to mark the spot of Speakers' Corner, as part of the Lichfield Historic Parks project.
Minster Pool, which is owned and managed by Lichfield District Council, is fed by Leomansley and Trunkfield brooks. There are two main entrances to Minster Pool Walk, which are off Dam Street and Bird Street. It can also be accessed from Bird Street car park by foot.