Baxter Park

Baxter Park is a substantial area of green space occupying a sloping site between Arbroath Road and Pitkerro Road, a mile (1.5 km) northeast of the centre of Dundee. Extending to 15.4 ha / 38 acres, it was presented to the town by Sir David Baxter (1793 - 1872), a prominent linen manufacturer, and his unmarried sisters Eleanor (1788 - 1868) and Mary Ann (1801-84), in memory of their father, William Baxter of Balgavies (1767 - 1854). The land was bought and the park laid out at a cost of £40000.

The park comprises sweeping lawns, a network of paths lined with mature trees, formal flower beds with hardy annuals, evergreen shrubs, and grasses, three tennis courts, children's play area, multi-use games area, and a bowling club.

Baxter Park was laid out by the notable English architect and garden designer Sir Joseph Paxton (1803-65), and the Italianate pavilion at its centre was designed by his son-in-law, George Henry Stokes (1827-74). This yellow sandstone ashlar structure features tall arched windows, a roofline balustrade, Ionic pilasters, a terrace which offers views out towards the Firth of Tay and a broad flight of steps leading from the lawns below. Within this pavilion is a marble statue of Sir David Baxter, by Sir John Steell (1804-91), erected by public subscription, along with an inscription, commemorating the Misses Baxter and their deceased father.

The official opening, on 9th September 1863, was in the presence of the Prime Minister, Earl Russell, and was declared a public holiday. More than 60,000 people witnessed the event that was a great celebration including fireworks.

Originally overseen by a Board of Trustees, who were granted an endowment of £10000 to fund its management, responsibility for the park passed to the Dundee Corporation in 1903. It is now owned by Dundee City Council and is managed by the Parks, Sports and Leisure Service.

A Baxter Park Restoration Plan restored features around the park and provided significant improvements. This was implemented 2002-08 at a cost of £4.1 million, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and Dundee City Council. The pavilion was revitalised and a modernist metal-roofed Park Centre was built on the site of the old bandstand in 2003-04. This centre provides the local community with a space for events and exhibitions, and serves as a base for staff including urban rangers.

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