The history of Plymouth’s Central Park is marked by a succession of changes which continue as an enduring influence.
The park opened in 1931 but many of the planned features were never built due to funding shortages. When war broke out in 1939, the character of the park changed considerably as large areas were taken over for allotments, a hutted camp and defences.
In the post-war years, there was little capacity for restoring and developing the park while re-building the devastated city centre and providing new housing took priority.
A spate of developments took place from about 1960 but they were poorly co-ordinated and left a legacy of problems.
In the early part of the 21st century the need for a planned approach was realised and a masterplan produced. A pivotal breakthrough came with the opening of the Life Centre in 2012 to replace the former swimming pool and sports centre.
Further improvements followed between 2017 and 2019 when Plymouth City Council delivered a major project to provide a new café, skate park extension, tennis courts, football pitches and changing facilities.
Most recently, attention has turned to the park’s heritage and natural environment as important elements for informal leisure, health and wellbeing.
The Central Park History Group exists to find out more about every aspect of the park over the years, both for interest and for wider reference. We like to welcome new faces and there are no membership requirements. If you share our interest in Central Park’s history do come to one of our meetings at the Meadow Café.