Central Park, covering 68 hectares, is the largest public park in Devon, originally planned as a major lung for the city. The site was formed from a collection of farms, sold cheaply to the City Council by Lord St Levan in 1923 on condition that they remained public open space.
The land was acquired in 1923 and the park was opened in 1931.
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Access Contact DetailsThis is a municipal park for general public use.
Central Park is the largest (68 hectares) public park in Devon, originally planned as a major lung for the city. The site was formed from a collection of farms, sold cheaply to the City Council by Lord St Levan in 1923 on condition that they remained public open space. The City Council commissioned the landscape architect E. Reuben Mawson to prepare a plan for the park, and his far-sighted report was presented to The Hoe and Parks Committee in October 1928.
By 1929 the Ministry of Health had approved the laying out of Central Park as a suitable work of public utility for the relief of unemployment, and works estimated to cost £18,400 were put in hand. It is interesting to note how many of Mawson's recommendations have been implemented, dominated by the Plymouth Argyle Football Club (Home Park) and provision for cricket, tennis, swimming, golf, playing fields, playgrounds and bowling greens, as well as wild gardens and an informal park. In anticipation of an enormous growth in motor traffic, Mawson advocaled parking for 700 to 800 cars.
It was not until the 1960s that any major developments took place, and since then there has been acrimony within the City Council and in consultation with the public over the erosion of the landscaped parkland. In 1962 the zoo opened, followed in 1965 the swimming pool and in 1970 by the Mayflower Centre. By the mid 1970s, only half of the original 94 hectares opened by the Mayor in 1931 remained as open space. Argument has continued through the 1980s and into the 1990s, with proposals for hotel and supermarket developments.
- Early 20th Century (1901-1932)