Olga Mavrogordato in her book, Voices in the Street, says: It is not easy to imagine Port of Spain without the Savannah. It plays a very important part in the lives of all of us and describes it as the lungs of the city.
There are misconceptions about the origins of the Savannah or Paradise Estate as it was then known as a public space. Two hundred and two acres were purchased by the Cabildo on the direction of Sir Ralph Woodford from the Peschier family on 18 August 1817. This did not include “a piece of the ground in which the ancestors of the said family Peschier are inferred….”. The cemetery is used to this day by descendants of the Peschiers. It is the popular belief that the estate was a gift from said family. Called from earliest times the Grand Savannah, little is known of the early years other than being used for the pasturing of cattle and an open playground, but horse racing was recorded as early as 1828. The Grand Stand was erected in 1854.
The Savannah remains the centre for all forms of sport including cricket, football, and hockey and has become the centre for military and Carnival parades, bicycle races and jogging. It also has a history of being the centre for romantic liaisons. The Savannah is probably the most hotly defended of Trinidad and Tobago’s natural heritage sites, as structures and car park facilities- purported to be temporary- encroach on its integrity. A Carnival Centre is planned to replace the Grand Stand, but has received considerable public opposition.
The Savannah is listed as one of the biggest parks in the Western Hemisphere and also, by the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest round about in the world.
Olga J. Mavrogordato
Other Known Name: The Savannah
Address: Circular Road
Town/City: Port of Spain
Region: Port of Spain
Site Type: Mixed Heritage
Public Accessibility: Full Access
Habitat: Gardens & Parks
Cultural Community: French, British
Site Features: Sugar Estates
Circular Road, Port of Spain