Frederick Gardiner was born on 22nd August 1850, the son of Scots-born George Neish Gardiner, a merchant trading with the Americas. At the time of his birth the family were living in St Michael’s Aigburth, later addresses including 9 Princes Park Terrace L8 and ‘Rozell Villa’ 9 Croxteth Road L8 (now demolished).
Making his living as a ship-owner he prospered to the extent that by the turn of the century, having married Alice Evans from Warrington and fathering four children, he was living in a large mansion in Woolton and described himself as retired. The affluence he enjoyed allowed him to devote himself full-time to the passion of his life, mountaineering, which he had begun as early as 1869. Looking back in 1913 he recorded “this season is my forty-sixth; I made one thousand two hundred ascents during eighty-one stays in the Alps”. Such was the enormity of his climbing record that in 1920 the famous writer on Alpine matters, W.A.B. Coolidge, published a record in The Alpine Career of Frederick Gardiner 1868-1914. Whilst the length and scope of his climbing ‘career’ was prodigious he was also involved in some notable feats. In 1873 He was a part of the expedition which made the first ascent of the eastern summit of Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus and involved in the first ascents on a number of Alpine peaks. His name is remembered in Mount Frederick Gardiner, a peak in New Zealand, not far from Mt. Cook.
He involved his daughter Kate Gardiner in climbing forays from age 10 and she became a pioneering woman climber in the 20th century.
The mansion in Woolton, which was his family home from at least 1891 until his death, was called ‘The Gables’. It stood in Vale Road until the creation of Menlove Avenue which ‘stole’ the northern section of the road up to Yew Tree Road. It was standing into the 1870s when it served as St Joseph’s Prep School alongside St Francis Xavier’s Grammar School, run by the same Catholic order.
Frederick Gardiner died on 28th March 1919, aged 68, leaving an estate of £56,128 (about £3.5 million in 2022).
The substantial mansion which was Gardiner's home for over 30 years.
Ordnance Survey map of 1906 showing location of The Gables
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