Gateacre Garden Centre to close after 80 years…

E.H.Williams Ltd, in Acrefield Road was opened by Ernie Williams in the 1930?s and is currently run by the third generation of the Williams family.

Originally a farmer?s field on the outskirts of the rural village of Woolton, the nursery supplied plants for the company?s landscaping business. Over time, the public began buying plants for their own gardens although, at this point, roses, trees and shrubs could only be sold in the autumn and winter when they could safely be lifted out of the ground.

Ernie and his sons had the idea of growing hardy plants in containers, using discarded fruit tins from Hartley?s jam factory. This meant gardening became a year-round activity as plants could be purchased during the spring months, just when gardeners wanted them.

By the 1960s, gardening had become incredibly popular and the Acrefield Road site became Gateacre Garden Centre when it opened as one of the first dedicated garden centres in the country.

His granddaughter Sally Cornelissen has had to take the difficult decision to close the centre and said: ?Garden centres have evolved and become larger to offer more shopping and gift choices alongside plants and garden products. Cafes and restaurants are now an important part of garden centres and have extended a simple trip out to buy plants into an all-day experience?.

?The size and shape of the Acrefield Road site mean we cannot extend our facilities and we also face space and planning issues in relation to car parking. After a great deal of discussion and soul searching we have decided to focus investment in our second site, Burleydam Garden Centre at Little Sutton on the Wirral?.

?There is currently an expansion plan at Burleydam enabling us to improve our retail and catering areas and extend car parking facilities after buying some adjacent land.?

We are delighted that some of 19 staff who work at Gateacre will be moving to Burleydam.

Sally added: ?Over the years many of our customers and their families have become friends and I would like to take the opportunity to thank them for their support and look forward to welcoming them to Burleydam.?

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