Learn more about the history of Derby Arboretum


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 botantic 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.

Historic trees of Derby Arboretum

The Arboretum has a superb collection of trees, some of which were planted in the 19th century. One specimen of Caucasian Lime is the tallest tree of its type in Britain.

John Claudius Loudon’s design took into account of the magnification tree routes by exhibiting them at eye level.

Pick up your free tree trail leaflet from the Rangers office or download it below.