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The Palm House


Sefton Park’s ‘Great Conservatory’ was a gift to the city of Liverpool by local benefactor Henry Yates Thompson. When it first opened to the public in 1896 it quickly became a popular visitor attraction.


© Peter Hughes Photography

People who had never set foot outside of Liverpool could stroll under its glass domes and marvel at exotic plants from far-away lands. Some of those plants are still thriving here today despite the Palm House falling into a state of dereliction in the 1990s.

After a public campaign and multi-million pound restoration, this Grade 2* listed building re-opened its doors to visitors in 2001 and has since enjoyed a new lease of life as a lively arts and cultural venue.



The trust

Sefton Park Palm House Preservation Trust is a registered charity established in 1996. Trustees are local residents who oversee the development and management of the Palm House as a heritage visitor attraction and cultural events centre. The building is owned and maintained by Liverpool City Council.

The Trust employs a team of staff and is supported in its work by volunteers and casual event assistants. By generating income from heritage grants, private hire, events and donations we are able to keep the Palm House open for everyone to enjoy and to fund our programme of free community events.



David Ellis

Interim Chair
David currently works in fundraising and development for Right to Succeed, a charity that supports communities in areas of high deprivation through place-based change approaches to give children and young people the best start in life. David has over 25 years’ experience of working in the voluntary and community sector in roles focused on strategy, fundraising, business development, communications and project delivery. David is the Deputy Chair and is committed to ensuring that the Sefton Park Palm House retains its unique appeal as both heritage and botanical venue and a special space for visitors and the community to relish and be enchanted.

Charlotte Smith

Charlotte Smith has over 20 years' experience working in the cultural attractions sector, across a variety of community focused, commercial and leadership roles. She is currently Director of Conservation Education at Chester Zoo, where she is responsible for leading the development of education and engagement programmes at the zoo, across the North West and internationally. She is passionate about the role of cultural organisations, particularly those with a nature focus, in supporting people's wellbeing and is interested in all aspects of sustainability. She is excited to be joining the board and supporting the Palm House to build on its existing successes into the future.

Natalie Dickson

Natalie is a solicitor and a partner at Brabners LLP specialising in family law. She is a trustee of the Brabners Foundation which is a grant making charity that strives to alleviate hardship in the community. Natalie is also an active fundraiser for Marie Curie and is on the Board of the Liverpool Sportswoman’s Lunch. Natalie is a member of Resolution and her previous roles include former board member and Secretary of Merseyside Young Professionals and committee member of both Merseyside Women’s Lawyers Division and Liverpool Ladies Network. Natalie lives in South Liverpool with her husband and two Labradors, Buster and Red and enjoys cooking, reading and travelling as far and wide as possible in her spare time. Being Liverpool born and bred she has always been conscious of what a special and important place the Palm House is, and she is delighted to be a trustee to help shape its future for the benefit of the community and generations to come.

Pam Wilsher

Former Head of Visitor Economy Development at Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, I spent most of my career working in tourism in Liverpool. I’ve been closely associated with all the key tourism initiatives in the city over the last 30 years from the International Garden Festival in the 80’s to European Capital of Culture in 2008. I came to Liverpool in the late 70’s for three months to help shape the visitor experience at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, fell in love with the city and never left! I am hugely proud of Liverpool and the wider City Region and my passion is heritage and culture and finding exciting new uses for some of our historic buildings. I am Secretary of Merseyside Civic Society. I love everything about the Palm House and it’s a real privilege to be part of the Board steering it towards an even more successful future.

Kate Rodenhurst

Kate Rodenhurst MA FRSA is a consultant. She works with arts and heritage organisations across the UK to support them with strategic planning, fundraising and evaluation. After starting her career as a parliamentary researcher, she worked at National Museums Liverpool, where she developed community engagement programmes and projects across the city. She was part of the research team which evaluated Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2008, and the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Kate is a Director of The RED Archive CIC. She has always loved the Palm House, although she struggles to keep her own house plants alive.

Registered Office:

Sefton Park Palm House
Preservation Trust,
Sefton Park Palm House,
Sefton Park, Liverpool
L17 1AP

Charity registration number:


Company Limited by Guarantee registration number:

327 2897

Our team

Kate Johnson

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Kate Martinez

Head of External Relations
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Sandra Marshall

Head of Business Development
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Rebecca Woodham

Head of Operations
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Naomi McAllister

Marketing & Community Manager
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Colette Roberts

Business Support
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Jodie Wilkinson

Presentation Team Supervisor

Charlotte Manning

Events Supervisor

Louise Reynolds

Events Supervisor

Ann Mccormack

Welcome Host Team

Declan Baxter

Food & Beverage Supervisor

Paula Wynn

Cafe Team

Jacqueline Kerr

Welcome Host Team

Stephen Parry

Presentation Team

Jacqueline Steele

Welcome Host Team

Peter King

Bar Team

Julie Steel

Welcome Host Team

Gabrielle Cleverley

Cafe Team

Alison Berry

Welcome Host Team

Amia Hemmings

Cafe Team

Donna Short

Cafe Team

Neil Shakeshaft

Presentation Team



Awards & achievements