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Quinta Magnolia

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The Quinta Magnolia is one of the major public gardens in Madeira. The park has a vast array of mature trees and plants. This is thanks in part to the efforts made by the former expatriate community that lived on the island to afford themselves some leisurely comfort and sporting facilities (tennis, swimming, squash, and so on) in a wonderful green and lush environment.

The park was formerly a private property - the oh-so colonial "British Country Club". This bastion of the UK cultural presence in Madeira was expropriated by the then fledgling regional government to substitute the public gardens of Quinta Vigia. Quinta Vigia was being converted into the official residence of the local presidency.

The expropriation of the Quinta Magnˇlia served two purposes: to acquiesce any discontentment for the transferring of the public gardens of Quinta Vigia into semi-enclosed and restricted government premises, and to ween bit-by-bit the powerful, still somewhat "exclusive", and conservative English social groups that wielded some power and influence with considerable real estate and business interests on the island.

The government at the time did make claim that the gardens had begun to fall into disrepair and like much elsewhere in the fading glory of the British Empire of the early late twentieth century it was becoming expensive to maintain old manor properties by and for themselves anyway. In the end the acquisition of the property for public use served both parties (the British ex-pat community and the local authorities) well.

Albeit that the gardens of the park were open to the public in general the sports facilities remained restricted. The regional government adopted a program of sports development and pursued the development of local sports talent using the excellent, tennis, swimming and squash facilities on the property.

In recent years an "international library" - transferred from the tourism office in central Funchal - was also incorporated into the main building in the park.

A peacock rests in the shade at the gardens.










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