Rowntree Park was given to the city by Joseph Rowntree in 1921 to commemorate the staff of Rowntrees who had died in the First World War. At the time the land given amounted to 17 acres and cost Rowntrees 1,700 pounds to acquire. Rowntree park is situated off Terry Avenue by the River Ouse and formally opened in July 1921.
A set of gates were added to the Terry Avenue entrance to commemorate those who had lost their lives in the Second World War. There are also entrances to the park in Butcher Terrace, Cameron Grove, Richardson Street and Lovell Street. There is a story, which is not based on actual evidence, that the purchase of the land for the park by Rowntrees was to prevent their rivals Terry’s from extending their own factory.
Following a 1.8 million pounds refurbishment, part funded with just over 1.3 million pounds from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the park has recently been restored. There are a range of facilities available, including a woodland walk, tree trail, lake, childrens’ play areas, tennis courts, a skate park and cafe. There was an outdoor swimming pool which was opened in 1924, but this was demolished amid strong local protest, in the mid 1980s.
The park is now 25 acres in size can be visited every day of the year other than Christmas Day and is open from 08.00 on Mondays to Fridays and from 09.00 on Saturdays and Sundays, always closing at dusk. The Friends of Rowntree Park also have a web-site at http://www.rowntreepark.org.uk/.