A lot of the attraction of adventure playgrounds for kids was the feeling that they were places to do what you wanted. Even when there was an adult present we still made the rules, which is why this old video of the Notting Hill adventure playground often resembles outtakes from Lord of The Flies. Though the video is labeled “late-1960″ it looks much later in the decade than that judging by the clothes.
I played in adventure playgrounds in Fulham and Holland Park when I was a kid — and think we made it to the Notting Hill one too — so this is a real nostalgia overload for me. So much so that I couldn’t see a lot of it through the sentimental tears that were filling my eyes, soon as I saw those two boys walking down the street eating bags of chips I was a puddle, and the little boy saying “If my mum wins at the bingo we might have a holiday” is heartbreaking. It’s also a reminder that Notting Hill wasn’t always so posh and desirable.
I belong to a Facebook group for people who grew up in Fulham and whenever someone mentions old playgrounds everyone starts grumbling about this faceless, shadowy organization called “Health and Safety” who are apparently dedicated to ruining children’s fun, unlike in the good old days when we were free to get tetanus from a rusty old swing. Sounds like one of those imaginary Daily Mail bogeymen to me. Maybe they’re right, but watching this video it doesn’t look like things have changed all that much, though the equipment looks better made and there seem to be more grown-ups present.
Download: See Emily Play – Pink Floyd (mp3)