Derby Arboretum, also informally known as Arboretum Park and The Arboretum, is famous for being Britain's first public park. It is picturesque with a fine collection of trees, and is Grade II* listed.
The 'Heart of the Park' building is used as the centre of community activity in the area. It contains a café, sports changing facilities and community building.
Arboretum Park Café opened in June 2010, and offers a public service to the local Arboretum area and surrounding community. The management team is comprised of a mixture of Deaf and hearing people. The cafe is mostly staffed by volunteers. The cafe welcomes a richly diverse customer base, from various nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. British Sign Language (BSL) is also available as a communicated language if required.
The café serves affordable hot and cold food, refreshments, cakes, snacks, sweets and ice cream. It also supports projects such as parents and toddler group, health groups, a youth club, themed nights and events, BSL training, and Deaf groups.
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Joseph Strutt, one of Derby's mill owners and former Mayor of Derby, was so thankful to the working people of Derby for helping his family make their fortune that he commissioned work to start on Derby Arboretum.
John Claudius Loudon designed the park, adapting Strutt's original plans for a botanic gardens and pleasure grounds to include landscaped walkways. Work started in July 1839 and the deeds were handed over to Derby Town Council on Wednesday 16th September 1840.
Derby Arboretum first opened its doors to the public on Thursday 17th September 1840. The whole town of 1,500 people took the afternoon off and headed to the park to celebrate.
The park originally charged an entry fee but was free on Sundays and Wednesdays so people on low incomes could still enjoy the park. The entry fee was stopped in 1882.
It is thought that Frederick Law Olmsted took inspiration from the Arboretum for his design for Central Park in New York.
Towards the end of the 20th Century, the Arboretum was in decline. In 2002 the park received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to refurbish it and help bring it back to its former condition.
Over £5 million was invested into the park to restore buildings and provide new facilities for toddlers and older children. Work was completed in 2005.
After a lengthy local campaign, a new bronze replica of the Florentine Boar statue, produced at cost by a local engineer, Alex Paxton, was finally put in place in November 2005.
The Arboretum is located in the Rose Hill area, about a mile south of Derby city centre. The nearest postcode to one of the pedestrian entrances is DE23 8FZ.