Coronation Avenue takes its name from the trees planted along it in 1937 to celebrate the coronation of King George VI. Children from schools across Plymouth were involved and the accounts here are from Joan Hassall and Ruth Heaton.
Joan recalls how the children were divided into groups of four and supervised by a council gardener as they shovelled in soil. Like many others, she has taken a special interest in the avenue. In 2011, she did some research and found a Council minute, number 1371 on 17th February 1937, which recorded:
1. “With regard to the proposal which has been approved by the Council for the planting of trees in Central Park in connection with the Coronation Celebrations, the quotation (750 shillings – £37.50 – per 100 trees) of J Cheal & Sons be accepted.
2. In view of the urgency, the order be given immediately”
Ruth Heaton wrote down her memories in 2012 like this:
The trees are red horse chestnut, named for the colour of its flowers, which is a hybrid between red buckeye and horse chestnut.
Cheals of Crawley was a well-known nursery firm founded in the late nineteenth century by Joseph Cheal. They propagated the trees by grafting the hybrid scions onto horse chestnut rootstocks and the high graft line is an unusual feature of the Coronation Avenue trees.
Each child who planted a tree was presented with a certificate and this is the one given to Harry Hooper. The same trees are photographed in 1949 and again in 2018 with Harry’s son, Tony, standing next to the one planted by his father.