Return to 1986's Domesday project in Crosby

Barry Jackson
Image caption Barry Jackson set up Seaforth Nature Reserve in the early 1980s

The founder of a Merseyside Nature Reserve featured in the 1986 BBC Domesday project has revisited the site to recall his experiences 25 years on.

Barry Jackson was featured by local school children who surveyed the Crosby area in 1986 as part of a countrywide scheme to mark 900 years since the original Domesday book.

Schools and community groups mapped and compiled information about their local area.

The Seaforth Nature Reserve created by Barry Jackson was featured in the entry made for Crosby.

Numerous different species

Unemployed in the early 1980s Barry Jackson had spent his time fishing on the edge of the Royal Seaforth Dock.

Noticing the variety of plants and wildlife that were living in the area he began to build up a list of the different species he saw.

After contacting his local Job Centre he was given £100,000 and workers by the Manpower Services Commission to create a nature reserve.

"It was an awful lot of work," Barry Jackson recalled.

"There were ten or so Manpower Service people working here.

Image caption The 1986 Domesday image of Crosby Baths which has since been demolished

"They moved an awful lot of rubble from some of the areas, they built hides and rubble and rubbish was dredged out of the lakes.

"When I first started here we'd get people coming in, poachers after the geese, we had swans shot and all sorts."

Three local schools compiled the Domesday entry for Crosby, Streatham House School, St John's C.E. Primary in Waterloo and St Nicholas C.E. Primary in Blundellsands.

The Crosby entry includes details of local housing and Crosby Marina as well as descriptions of games played by local school children and local landmarks including Victoria Park and the local swimming pool Crosby Baths which has since been demolished.

The country was split in to square grids for the Domesday Project with schoolchildren and volunteers compiling entries for each grid.

The material, which was published on two laserdiscs in the 1980s, has now been made available by the BBC on the Domesday Reloaded site.

The Seaforth Nature Reserve is now part of Liverpool Freeport and access is by prior arrangement only.

Barry Jackson received two awards from the Conservation Foundation for his work in creating the reserve.

By the time the area was surveyed for the Domesday project there were 150 different type of plants in the reserve and the Domesday entry records sightings of numerous birds including Manx Sheerwater, Arctic Skua, Ring Ousel and Mediterranean Gull.

Image caption Seaforth Nature Reserve is now part of the Liverpool Freeport complex

The site includes two pools, one of freshwater and the other of saltwater fed from the River Mersey.

Barry Jackson said the area has become more established over the last 25 years. "It's nice and green now," he said.

"There wasn't as much greenery about when I was here.

"It was teeming with wildlife when I was here. A lot of the rubble has disappeared so you can see the wildlife more than you could originally.

"Looking at it now is how I visualised it.

"In the days when I set up the site it was not a Freeport. Now it has Freeport status so there's got to be added security at the main gate.

"If you can get a pass granted to you you can come on to watch the birds and wildlife.

"It's a nice thing to have in Liverpool.

"It was set up the same time as the Garden Festival. The Garden Festival disappeared but Seaforth's still here."

25 years later you can explore the Domesday archive online and search for your area.

See the pictures, update the information and make your mark on this fascinating record of collective history.

To get involved go to

More on this story

Around the BBC