document.addEventListener("contextmenu", function(e){ if ( === "IMG") { e.preventDefault(); } }, false);

The Making of the Grand Savannah


Bavina Sookdeo

March 16, 2023

In 1783, a Swiss Family known as the Peschiers came to Trinidad through the Cedula of Population. Proclaimed by the King of Spain Jose de Galvez, the Cedula was crafted to encourage migration to Trinidad and develop a plantation economy. Some royalists fleeing the French Revolution came, along with others from islands like Martinique and Guadeloupe. The edict had several articles including a grant of free land for settling in the island. The family obtained 232 acres of land north of Port of Spain which was subsequently developed into a sugarcane estate with a mill, boiling house, living quarters for slaves and a home for the planter’s family. Today, most of this land has been transformed into the popular Queen’s Park Savannah.

Savannah - Photo: Maria Nunes
Savannah - Photo: Maria Nunes

The Grand Savannah

In 1816, Governor Sir Ralph Woodford made an announcement to the Cabildo that the heirs of Madam Peschier made a proposal for the purchase of their St Ann’s Estate. On August 18th, 1817, 202 acres were purchased by the Cabildo - this excluded a piece (6,600 sqft) which is a walled-in cemetery where the Peschier family are said to be interred. Little was heard of the savannah during earlier times besides it being used as grounds for play and for cattle grazing. In 1854, the Grand Stand was erected and from that moment the savannah began its transformation.

Killarney Castle - Photo: Richard Lyder
Killarney Castle - Photo: Richard Lyder

Killarney Castle  

Killarney Castle, also known as Stollmeyer’s Castle, was built by Charles Fourier Stollmeyer in 1904. Stollmeyer’s wife found the castle too “showy” and so it was given to their son Conrad. Although occupied by US Forces during the Second World War, Conrad and his wife lived there until they died in 1965 and 1969 respectively. Dr John Stollmeyer then became owner and his sister, Clara Merry, occupied it until 1972 when Jessy Henry A Mahabir, an insurance executive, purchased the building. In 1979, the government of T&T purchased the building constructed by Scotsman, Robert Gillies and today, it is under the care of the Office of the Prime Minister.  
Contact: 227-5240 • 798-5574
Instagram: CastleKillarneyTT_Stollmeyer
Facebook: Castle Killarney TT

Mille Fleurs

With its French Provincial architectural style and quality detailing, Mille Fleurs was developed in 1904 by the wife of Dr Enrique Prada as a gift to her husband. Mille Fleurs became the family’s home for 19 years before it was sold to Joseph Salvatori in 1923. After he died in 1959, his wife occupied the mansion until 1971. The couple’s only daughter, Mrs Pierre Lelong, who lived in Paris, sold the home to George Matouk in 1973. In June 1979, it was bought by the Government of T&T. In 2020, restoration works on Mille Fleur were completed and handed over to the National Trust of T&T.

The Emperor Valley Zoo

Close to The Royal Botanic Gardens is T&T’s Emperor Valley Zoo, housed on 7.2 rolling acres, visitors can see local animals, (many under threat of extinction), housed in a protected environment, including deer, ocelots, capibaras, caiman, capuchin monkeys and boa constrictors.

Queen’s Hall

Sitting on three acres of land on St Ann’s Road, St Ann’s, Queen’s Hall is also a home for the performing arts. The development of this landmark was carried out by a group of citizens led by May Johnstone. The 30,000 square-foot centre (which stands on what was originally a playing field for the Governor’s residence) showcases world class events from dance to music, theatre and more.  
Tel: 298-9071 • 298-9089

Namdevco Farmers’ Market

Fresh, local produce can be found at the Namdevco Farmers’ Market which has become part of the Queen’s Park Savannah’s landscape. On the paved area east of the Grand Stand, shoppers look forward to purchasing the fresh fruit and vegetables from farmers. Open every Saturday from 6am to 12noon.

Memorial Square - Photo: Richard Lyder
Memorial Square - Photo: Richard Lyder

Memorial Park

Engraved with the names of courageous nationals who died in World War I and II is a cenotaph which stands in Memorial Park. Located at the top of Frederick Street in Trinidad’s capital, this memorial is breathtaking with its intricate designs in Portland stone and bronze of sculpted soldiers, surmounted by the winged figure of Victory. On Remembrance Day, a wreath-laying ceremony is held at the park.

The Royal Victoria Institute (The National Museum)

Built in the German Renaissance style, the institute was initially used to showcase natural history, classes in arts and craft, a reading room, recreation room and lawn tennis courts were added later. Eventually becoming a hub for functions and drama, in 1945, the Institute was given museum status by the colonial government.

 Photo: Lisa Fernandez, Lifepyx
Photo: Lisa Fernandez, Lifepyx

The National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA)

Located opposite Memorial Square, the monumental NAPA opened in 2009. With seating for 1500 persons, the academy has a dance room, sound lab, piano room and hosts a variety of concerts year-round.

Tour with The National Trust

The National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago offers comprehensive, educational tours - private and virtual. Tours should be booked a maximum of one month in advance and bookings can be placed Sunday to Sunday from 8am to 6pm.
For bookings visit:
Tel: 225-4750 • 706-6316

Street Food

Looking for local cuisine and goods? Around the Queen’s Park Savannah has it all. From Doubles to Gyros, Jamaican Jerk Chicken, corn soup, ice-cream and Pholourie. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to enjoy some live steelpan music.

Quench your thirst

When we say the Savannah offers everything we mean it. After soaking up the sun and touring The Magnificent Seven cool down with an ice cold, freshly cut coconut from one of the vendors.