The day Wicksteed invented the slide

HISTORIANS have uncovered photographs of the world’s first children’s slide which was built 90 years ago at Wicksteed Park in Kettering.

The slide was built in 1922 from a plank of wood with no sides and no safety surface.

In the photographs girls and boys can be seen climbing the dangerously steep four-metre high ladder, then pushing themselves down the long wooden plank which has nothing to stop them falling off.

The slide was designed by park owner Charles Wicksteed, who initially made slides for Wicksteed Park and then went on to manufacture and sell them around the world.

Initially Wicksteed made separate slides for the boys and girls, which were labelled to avoid confusion. The division of the genders was common in early playgrounds but Mr Wicksteed later became pioneering in breaking down the boundaries.

In 1928 he wrote: “I thought I would make a slide: first for the boys.

“This was so much appreciated that I made a better one for the girls: the boys got jealous of this, so I made a still better one for them.

“At that time I had a quaint idea that the boys and girls ought to be separated.”