There are many ways into Central Park but only six places where the entrances have been formalised with gate pillars. Five are still accessible and are located as follows:
- Pounds House entrance. On Outland Road near the junction with Peverell Park Road.
- Barn Park entrance. At the lower end of Barn Park Road.
- Ford Park entrance. On Central Park Avenue next to the lower entrance to Ford Park Cemetery.
- Knollys Terrace entrance. At the lower end of Knollys Terrace leading off Alma Road.
- Milehouse entrance. On Alma Road near the Milehouse road junction.
The sixth entrance, which is no longer in use, is at the lowest point on Venn Lane on its southern side.
Pounds House entrance
The Pounds House entrance pillars are typically Victorian in style and would have been installed when the house was built in 1829 or soon afterwards.
Barn Park entrance
When Lockyer Street was made in the mid-19th century, it included a set of four classical gate pillars leading onto the Hoe at its southern end; two inner and two outer pillars. They were later surmounted on occasions with illuminations and banners.
A proposal to make the superstructure permanent with ‘pylon gates’ was approved by the Council in 1937 although several councillors subsequently complained in meetings that they did not know exactly what was intended.
When the new edifice was erected later that year, the original Lockyer Street pillars were installed at the Barn Park entrance where they remained for the next fifty years.
During the late 1980s, there was a Council programme of environmental improvements in the Hoe Conservation Area which included the demolition of the pylon gates and re-installation of the original two inner gate pillars. In their place at the Barn Park entrance were installed the present pair of newly-made, cut-limestone pillars, surmounted with balls to give them a bold topping and make them appear less squat.
Ford Park entrance
Information about the Ford Park entrance pillars is being sought. The Historic Landscape Assessment in 2002 noted their unusual and attractive design and dated them to the 1930s.
Knollys Terrace entrance
The Historic Landscape Assessment in 2002 identified the gate piers as typical of late Victorian street furniture and considered that they were probably designed to mark the entrance to ‘Exhibition Fields’. This is corroborated to some extent by the 1865 print from the Illustrated London News which shows two similar-looking pillars at the left midfield of the picture.
The pillars would probably have been installed in their present position when the southern extension to Discovery Way was made c1950.
The main park entrance in 1931 was at Milehouse and initially it was quite open with low stone walls on either side. There is a photograph of it in the park’s opening programme. The desire to make the entrance more imposing came to the fore in 1949, with the present pillars installed by August 1950.
The pillars have been re-positioned twice, once between 1966 and 1968 and again between 1991 and 1994. Both occasions were to improve the layout of the road junction. This picture shows how they look today.
Venn Lane entrance
No longer in use, this entrance is marked by square limestone pillars with moulded cap stones, and it would have enabled access between Venn Lane and the grounds of Pounds Park until the area was taken over for allotments in the second world war. With this route blocked, a rough opening has been gradually worn through an adjacent hedge bank whereas the original entrance could be restored with the loss of one or two allotment plots.