Historic photographs fascinate me; they are one of the best ways to get an introduction to a story when we weren’t around to experience it first-hand. So when I came across pages of black and white photographs depicting old style play equipment I was instantly draw in and began reminiscing about playing the super-fast wooden roundabouts, the sturdy rocking horse and the ‘Witches Hat’. I then noticed that in some of the Images children and adults were often shown either hanging upside down or on swings that went horizontal or so high, I’m sure some of them would have got vertigo. Finally I noted the tile of the article ‘100 Years of Play’……well that explained the knee length shorts, flat caps and suits and I’d love to know how the lady wearing heels, facing the ground managed to kept her hat on whilst flying through the air.
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What I really stood out from these images is that in many ways the principles behind some of the play equipment, the play action or activity in some cases hasn’t changed that much. Swings and slides have got lower and roundabouts slower. No doubt in response to the demands made by Health and safety regulations. I’m sure I’m blocking out many scraps and knocks and bruises from rickety equipment and hard surfacing.
One of the main challenges that Wicksteed have to overcome is how to keep their play equipment as adventurous, challenging and relevant to suit the demands of that generation. The 100 years of play development is testament to their ability to continue to respond to change in demands and trends. The changes that I most welcome are those that address inclusive play. There’s along way to go with this concept but with companies like Wicksteed innovating and adapting their products it will be interesting to see how play equipment develops in the future.
But no need to wait another hundred years to check out their latest products