Webpage created: February 11, 2016
Webpage updated: June 20, 2018
DEVONPORT "PEOPLE'S PARK"
An early view of the Bandstand in Devonport
In August 1887 the War Department consented to Devonport Corporation renting part of the glacis adjoining New Passage Hill, amounting to 37 acres, for use as a public park. The rent was to be £65 10s per annum. It was estimated that it would cost £900 to put the area into a proper condition. The Government provided £300 from a special fund set aside to assist public bodies to form parks for the inhabitants. The Corporation voted £250 from the rates, the Lord of the Manor donated £100 and the 26 members of the Council subscribed £60. The balance was raised by subscriptions from the townsfolk.
At Midday on Thursday March 8th 1894 the Mayor of Devonport, Alderman W Waycott, cut the first sod in the laying out and improvement of the Park. A procession left Devonport Town Hall at 11.30am led by the Borough Band and then 50 Borough Police under the direction of Superintendent Matters; the Fire Brigade; the Mercantile Association; the Devonport School Board; the Local Board Commissioners; the Borough Officials and then members of the Corporation. From Ker Street it went via Saint Aubyn Street and Fore Street. The architect was Mr S Roberts and the contractor was Mr A N Coles. The first tree was planted in the Park on October 22nd 1894 by the Chairman of the Park Committee, Alderman J May. A further tree was planted during the official opening of the Park to the public by the Mayor, Alderman J B James, on October 28th 1895.
Known to the residents as "The People's Park", the main walk extends along the length of the old trench that surrounded the Granby Barracks. At the entrance to the Park from Stoke Road is the Swiss Lodge and gardens, designed by Devonport architect, Mr Alfred Norman. Adjacent to the Swiss Lodge is the Napier Memorial Fountain. Within the Park used to be a fine Bandstand. At the highest part of the Park is the HMS "Doris" Gun, the Great War Memorial and a large property known as the Higher Park Lodge. The latter is now in private hands and is fenced off from the Park. Alongside the bowling greens is a well recommended cafe and nearby is a children's play area.