The Hollows
The Hollows, Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, circa 1869. Photo courtesy

The history of the Hollows at Queen’s Park Savannah

If you drive too fast you may pass it, as it is below street level. The Hollows sometimes called Rock Garden lies within the sprawling Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain, opposite Killarney (formerly Stollmeyer’s Castle), Wild Flower Park and the Emperor Valley Zoo.

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Unlike the verdant fields and bustling activity of the Savannah, the Hollows offers a secluded haven, its history as intriguing as its tranquil beauty.

The Savannah itself boasts a rich past, having transformed from sugarcane fields to a public park in the early 19th century. However, the Hollows carves out its own narrative within this larger story. Originally conceived as a reservoir in the early 20th century, it served as a vital source of water for the Savannah’s maintenance.

Construction of the Hollows

The man behind this project was Archbishop Patrick Vincent Flood, the fifth Archbishop of Port-of-Spain. He was also the behind the construction of The Archbishop’s Palace in 1903. Construction of the Hollows began in the same year, and for a period, the Hollows fulfilled its designated role. It was fed by the St Ann’s River, which passed through a channel from the nearby Botanical Gardens.

Wildflower Park was a catchment area for the reservoir’s overflow. But its time as a reservoir was short-lived. The reason for its eventual draining remains unclear, though some speculate that alternative water sources rendered it unnecessary.

With its watery purpose gone, the Hollows entered a new chapter. Instead of reflecting the sky, its basin became a canvas for landscaping. Ornamental shrubs replaced the water, transforming the sunken area into a picturesque garden. This shift not only enhanced the aesthetics of the Savannah but also created a peaceful retreat for visitors seeking respite from the lively atmosphere of the park.

The Hollows stands today as a testament to the Savannah’s evolution. It’s a reminder of the park’s utilitarian past, a time when functionality reigned supreme. Yet, its transformation into a landscaped haven reflects the ongoing beautification efforts that have made the Queen’s Park Savannah a beloved landmark.

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A haven for relaxation and reflection

While details about the Hollows’ earliest days are scarce, its current form continues to hold significance. It serves as a valuable green space within the urban environment, offering a haven for relaxation and reflection. The National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago even recognises it as a heritage site, acknowledging its contribution to the cultural landscape of Port-of-Spain.

So, the next time you find yourself amidst the vibrant energy of the Queen’s Park Savannah, take a moment to seek out the Hollows. Let its tranquility transport you, and allow its history to whisper tales of a bygone era, when a sunken reservoir bloomed into a verdant sanctuary.

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