Don’t play there, it’s dangerousComment on this story
London - No helmets, no safety rails, no child-friendly synthetic surfaces - little sign of an adult (with or without a fluorescent bib and a first aid kit). Yet, none of these scenes ended in disaster.
They were just part of growing up in the days when a stubbed toe or a cracked tooth was a fact of life, not an excuse to call the nearest no-win/no-fee ambulance-chasing lawyer.
These delightful images were all captured in the days before the health and safety industry took root, in an age when childhood disease or war represented more pressing threats to a child’s prospects than a game of conkers.
The Mail included an extraordinary photograph of one of Britain’s earliest playgrounds - in Northamptonshire - complete with two precarious, open-sided slides built in 1922.
But as we see from these pictures of British life, mostly taken in the Thirties, such scenes were not unusual. The idea of a playground was for children to “play”. Take, for example, the pre-war picture of the children clinging to the swinging horse at a newly-opened playground in Bloomsbury, London, in 1936.
One girl has been lifted off the ground by the momentum of the thing. Did they all end up in A&E? Or were they just having a ball and showing off for the camera?
We see tiny little things perched on climbing frames or dangling from bars. A crowd has gathered on the playground to watch two boys getting stuck into a boxing match.
But aside from the odd sticking plaster or bandage, there is no sign of injury in these shots.
And just a few years after most of these images were taken, many British children had an entirely new sort of playground to mess around in. It was called a bomb site. - Daily Mail