Coronation Park first appeared on Ordnance Survey maps for the 1920s, though it was created in 1911 to mark the coronation of King George V.
The land, alongside Stephenson Street, was purchased from Colonel Lockwood for £5,250, of which it was agreed that £1,250 would be returned to the Council to pay for the laying out, fencing and drainage of the ground. The Parks Committee approved the purchase agreement in March 1910, it having been reported that the Local Government Board had approved the loan of £5,500 to be repaid within 50 years. The agreement was reported to have been finalised in August 1910, enabling the the Council to take steps to obtain vacant possession. In October the Parks Committee agreed to a suggestion from the Distress Committee that unemployed men be engaged on the laying out, draining and levelling of the new recreation ground.
In May 1911 it was reported that draining and fencing had been completed at a cost of £660, and the Parks Committee agreed that footpaths be constructed and and twelve seats ordered. At the same meeting the Committee decided that the new recreation ground would be called Coronation Park. The following month it was agreed that the gates to Coronation Park would be left open at night so that men could go through the park on their way to and from the docks. In October 1912 the Parks Committee visited the park for inspection and agreed that £40 be provided for planting trees at the foot of the embankment.
Beginning in 1911 sports pitches were provided for football, rugby, cricket and baseball.
The proximity of the park to the Transporter Bridge caused the Works and General Purposes Committee in December 1913 to propose that a house be built in Coronation Park so that the Superintendent of the bridge could also act as park keeper. The Parks Committee instructed the Borough Engineer to prepare plans and an estimate of cost, and these were approved the following month. In the event this matter was referred back by the Council and in February 1914 the Committee agreed to take no further action at present. Later that year the Parks Committee wished to provide a public convenience in the park and obtained a circular urinal via the Health Committee. This convenience was to be placed near the Transporter Bridge anchorage.
A drinking fountain was provided following a request in June 1922 from the Newport Trades Council. The Parks Committee agreed that this be done as soon as possible.
It was reported in January 1921 that an "old shelter" was blown down in a gale and completely wrecked. In October 1923 the Committee agreed that a shelter and urinal be erected on the western side of the Transporter Bridge anchorage. The Borough Engineer reported in January 1924 that construction of the shelter had started. In November of that year the Committee accepted an offer from the Public Works Committee to rent (for one shilling per year) a strip of land on the south side of the eastern anchorage of the Transporter Bridge, where a lean-to shelter could be built against the wall of the anchorage site.
An extension to the park was initiated in December 1924 when the Parks Committee decided to purchase adjoining land, and to make application to the Minister of Health to borrow £4,494 for this purpose. In May 1925 the area of this land was measured at 14 acres 3 roods and 24 perches. The purchase price was £4,097 and the seller Lord Lambourne. Development of this land was delayed for some years while several schemes for draining and levelling it were proposed but not implemented.
Playground equipment was provided in 1926 but the location of the playground is not known. In December 1928 the Committee accepted the tender of Mr Fred Baker for £130 to construct lavatory accommodation.
Draining and fencing of the land purchased to extend the park was finally initiated in September 1934, when a tender was accepted from British Estate Services Ltd, priced at £1,473-3s-2d. In July 1935 the Parks Committee heard that part of the extension grounds would be available for play in the autumn, and in August 1936 the Parks Superintendent reported that two association football pitches were being prepared in the park extension and they would be available for play in the coming season.
A tender from Mr J. H. Bevan to build a sports pavilion was accepted in December 1938. Mr Bevan also submitted a successful tender to build an entrance lodge in May 1939.
The 1939-45 world war had a number of impacts on the park, as described on a separate page. After the war, as use of the parks began to return to normal, Newport County Association Football Club was granted use Coronation Park for training purposes during the 1945-1946 season. The extension land was ploughed, levelled and sown with grass seed in April 1948, having been used for grazing during the war. The park seems never to have had a bandstand but after the war it was included in the Council's programme of summer entertainments. During the 1949 season two Sunday band concerts were held in Coronation Park.
The 1950 Ordnance Survey map indicates that by this time the park had expanded considerably east of its original footprint and contained a lodge, playground with a drinking fountain, pavilion, lavatories and a tennis court or courts. In January 1950 there was a proposal and preliminary agreement that approximately 6.54 acres of the park extension would be exchanged for approximately 8.3 acres of industrial land at Stephenson Street. The final agreement was that the park would lose 2.15 acres and gain 3.85 acres adjoining the river bank. The 1960s brought further changes. Early in 1965 it was agreed with the Health Committee that the park would lose 9.6 acres adjoining Stephenson Street and receive land to the south in exchange. The replacement land was to be made available for the creation of sports pitches before the exchange took place, but this condition was later waived meaning the temporary loss of two football pitches and one cricket pitch. By January 1969 it was reported that work was in progress on 7.8 acres of park land to be incorporated into the Stephenson Street industrial estate, and the Leisure Services Committee agreed that work should start as soon as possible on replacement land at Maesglas.
Coronation Park was extended in the 1980s to provide facilities for soccer, rugby, and baseball. It has hosted international baseball matches between England and Wales.
In 1991 land was appropriated to provide dog kenneling facilities. The Newport City Dogs Home now occupies a site at the north west corner of Coronation Park, adjoining Stephenson Street.
Sources of Information