Douglas Park was created in 1906 when Mr C J C Douglas gifted the land to Largs Town Council for a public park. It comprised of the formal Spring Gardens at Irvine Road and the hill section of Haylie Estate.
The park proved to be a great success both for its sport and formal gardens and the hillside rising to 600 feet. So popular was it with visitors to the town that the former president of the Scottish Ramblers Association, Thomas Lockhead, had his ashes scattered on the hillside in 1938.
In 1947/48, Spring Gardens were renovated at a cost of £1640 with the building of a bird sanctuary, stone arches, lily pond and shelter. The arches proved very popular with amateur photographers as ready frames to take snaps of each other.
In 1955, a fountain was added to the pond. It originally came from Crescent Lodge which was being redeveloped as housing. Messrs Cairney gave it to the park and erected it for free. Visitors were soon throwing pennies into the pond as a response to the popular film 'Three Coins in the Fountain'.
In 1978, a section of Spring Gardens was re-landscaped by Cunninghame District Council as a Burns Garden. It was designed by council gardener Robert Burns William Mackay with replicas of a plough, Alloway Kirk, Brig O' Doon and Tam O' Shanter quotations.
In 1980, a new steel direction chart was put on the summit of the park. This replaced an earlier one which had been destroyed by vandals. Ex-Provost Dan Doris hoped this one wouldn't be harmed as he said; "I think they would need an acetylene burner".
Tennis and Bowling
In 1920, four tennis courts laid out in the south of the park. Three years later another three courts were built to the south of the existing courts on land sold to the council for a nominal sum from Mr Douglas. The land had been used for allotments until one or two years previously but had been abandoned due to a lack of interest in horticulture in Largs. Work started on the bowling green in January 1947 at the bottom of Spring Gardens. Later that year in October the council borrowed £1160 to complete the green. Play started on the green in July 1948 but it wasn't officially opened until August of that year.
Douglas Park Playgroup
Early in 1973, an open meeting was held at Douglas Park Bowling Pavilion with the intent of forming a playgroup. It was the idea of Elizabeth Daly, a recent new-comer to Largs, who had found the only playgroup full and with a lengthy waiting list.
Largs Town Council agreed to let the Pavilion at a nominal fee and after much fund-raising the first children started using the Bowling Pavilion in September. This was the start of the Douglas Park Playgroup.
Unfortunately the playgroup wasn't able to use the pavilion during the bowling season and the need for other accommodation became apparent. For a few years the Red Cross Group gave the playgroup a summer rent of their building in Waterside Street but this meant moving their equipment twice a year.
Then in 1987, Cunninghame District Council moved the group into the new Tennis Pavilion in Cathcart Road. During this time Pauline Komiski had taken over from Elizabeth Daly as Playgroup Leader. By 1991, there were three Leaders; Jenny Walker, Maureen Condron and Janice Nicol.
Back to the Largs Trail