Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Uncontrolled delight

Generations of Bermondsey children have fond memories of the 'joy slide' (left) that graced the churchyard at St James's for over 50 years from 1921.

Hardly, a funeral visit goes by without someone recalling the slide, placed there by Arthur Carr (above) from the Bermondsey biscuit factory of Peek Freans.

A recent visitor to the churchyard was a lady who gave out the mats which the children glided down the slide on.

In 1921 the project caught the imagination of the national press who reported it like this:

'For today in the shadow of St. James's Church, nay, in the very consecrated ground of the churchyard itself, you will find the nucleus of areal live fun-city, a wonderful joy-slide, with the youngsters of Jamaica Road shooting down on it on their doormats at well over the speed limit, and shrieking and yelling with uncontrolled delight. '

'As fast as they could keep the pot a boiling the youngsters climbed the stairs, snatched their mats, and went over the top, yelling at the tops of their voices. Hundreds and hundreds of them shot the rapids and went back for more, and before the afternoon was over the maple slide shone like a mirror and felt hot to the touch. Mr Carr's gift is certainly the brightest thing in all Bermondsey and ought to do the local trousers trade a power of good'

Now the Friends of St James's Churchyard are actively working on a project to bring a children's slide back to the churchyard.

It probably can't be just like the 1921 slide - for one thing council funds would no longer run to a full time attendant - but it could be a new slide, a joy slide for the twenty-first century, for the entertainment and excitement of today's children.

At present its just a dream, but the dream could become a reality, so watch this space for a return to 'uncontrolled delight' among the youngsters of Jamaica Rd.

The original joy slide in operation

No comments:

Post a Comment