Camp Hill and Woolton are significant in Otterson family history because of the posting of Robert Otterson to this area by the British Army after World War II. The family arrived in September 1947 from Catterick, Yorkshire, staying at first in the home of a local widow until married quarters could be secured at “Crossacres” - military housing that skirted the edge of Camp Hill.
This was the home of Sgt. Robert Otterson, his wife the former Doris Dix, and their two daughters Ruth and Ann. It was son Michael’s first home from October 1948 until the late summer or autumn of 1949. It was in July of that year that the death of Robert Otterson in a motor cycle accident in Wales forced the family to move from army housing to a temporary post-war prefabricated house on a swatch of former farm land between the villages of Gateacre and Childwall, known as Belle Vale. 

The Iron Age in Britain ranged from about the 5th century BC until the coming of the Romans in the first century AD, and hill forts dotted the countryside in those ancient times. Some historians believe that one such defensive structure existed at Camp Hill around 150 BC, although evidence for it was likely obliterated during settlement in the 1800s. Archaeologists have identified many such fortified enclosures and settlements in Britain.

The land now known as Camp Hill and Woolton Woods occupies about 75 acres on a rising slope and crest of a hill within sight of the River Mersey, flanking the ancient settlement of Woolton. While the camp derives its name from an ancient fort, the village was recorded in the Domesday Book (1086 AD) as Uluentune, meaning Wulfa’s tun or Wulfa’s farm or settlement.

For several centuries the area was safeguarded by the Knights Hospitaller of the Sovereign Order of St John, one of the world’s oldest orders of chivalry. With the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII in the 1500s, the land was confiscated, later being acquired by the landed gentry who were the primary beneficiaries of Henry’s dispute with the Roman Catholic Church.

For the next 300 years, the area passed through a number of wealthy families until Woolton Woods was bought by the City of Liverpool in 1920, and Camp Hill bequeathed as a gift to the city the following year. Today, Camp Hill comprises about a quarter of the total conservation area.

Photos taken 2006 at Camp Hill and Woolton Woods.

The Places
Camp Hill
Woolton, Liverpool, Lancashire, England - Ancient to modern times

Camp Hill, Woolton, Liverpool:

Residence: Robert Otterson-Doris Dix family, 1947-1949. First home of Michael Robert Otterson.