This is home

Local entrepreneur Gemma McGowan, who was born and raised in Anfield, paints a picture of the area’s potential.

Gemma McGowanWhen Gemma McGowan was getting married there was really only one choice of venue for her big day.

After all, as the woman behind the ongoing success of the Isla Gladstone Conservatory in Stanley Park, Anfield, she knew she couldn’t pick a better place.

“And I was right. I was the most laid back bride you could find because I knew it would all run like clockwork and it would be fabulous so I wasn’t worried.”

In many ways Gemma, who married Gary on New Year’s Eve 2010, reckons she was born to do her job.

I’m a local girl so knew the conservatory and had always loved it. I’d also seen what had happened to it, becoming unused and derelict, and it broke my heart.”

But thanks to major investment, the 1870 building and surrounding parkland have been completely transformed.

Isla gladstone
The Isla Gladstone Conservatory

When the opportunity came up to tender for a business here I knew I had to have it. It would have killed me not to get it. I could see the potential.”

The conservatory, named after designer Isla Gladstone who married into the elite Gladstone family and who was famed for her floral prints, is now a symbol of the renaissance of Anfield.

Gemma, who became the youngest licensee in the country at the age of 18, also owns two local pubs with six function rooms. She now employs over 100 local people and also founded Hestia careers a training program for young people in hospitality.

Our business is proof that Anfield is an area with huge potential. I’ve witnessed first-hand the incredible changes which are taking place and the new Anfield which is emerging. The redevelopment of the High Street is another important step and an amazing opportunity to capitalise on a neighbourhood which is authentically unique and globally known.”