North Kensington Playspace, 1960s

Due to the kids in overcrowded and badly housed North Kensington having 1/10th of the play space of the kids in rich South Kensington, we opened 8 temporary playgrounds in the north in the summers of 1967-1969 when the need was critical. It was sometimes so critical that people finally just cut the fence into private, unused Powis Square and claimed it for playspace, until the local Council finally bought it and it was opened properly. Six bays under the just built Westway motorway made a variety of play spaces, with donated scaffolding and paper and paints and the odd net. A very able, helpful nun was one of the stars there. 

We got 200 students to come and help run some of the playgrounds and they, along with local people, did a great job. We used temporarily empty land, made play streets and we used 8 of the bays under the Westway elevated motorway. We even got a couple of streets made into “play streets”, where traffic was prohibited. A long derelict site in Oxford Gardens was used, where the amazing dancing mayor opened the play space.

The amazing dancing mayor at Oxford Gardens, 1968

These photos give a feel of those summers. We got donations of equipment from local firms and lots of help from local people. No one who was there will ever forget it.