Donne Hill talks about the Progress Ship and Bandley Hill [Text only]

'Well it was the, it was something all the children could use. The structures they built for themselves they were...'

Stevenage Museum

Well it was the, it was something all the children could use. The structures they built for themselves they were very jealous of and so they, they protected their own dens, but this was something, this was one of my projects.  I always tried to have a project of my own, partly because the children could learn the skills and partly so that I was making the best use of my time, so when I wasn’t actually patrolling the site, I would be developing some facility for the kids to use.  And one of the firms, quite early on in the life of the playground, one of the firms gave a very large wooden crate, it was about 2 metres cubed, and we parked this on the front of the site and as it was slatted, the kids could climb up it and over it.

So that was quite useful and then because I’d had experience in building structures on adventure playgrounds in London, I was able to use my woodwork skills and my imagination to see the possibilities of this crate, and gradually by a process of evolution, I extended it in both directions parallel with Featherstone Road.  In the middle of it, I built, what you might imagine if it was a real ship, would be the top deck, with a flagpole and a gallery at the top and then ahead of it, forward of it, I put in a piece of telegraph pole at an angle to make the bows of the ship and then tapered some wood towards the tower to make it look a bit pointy.  During the course of my gathering of materials from building sites, I found part of a sign that had said ‘Work in Progress’ but the bit of the sign I got, just said  ‘Progress’, so I thought well, this will do for a name for the ship, so that was nailed onto the front, and if I would say to one of the kids, well what have you been doing, ‘oh I’ve been climbing on Progress’!  Quite a lot of the kids gave their own dens a name.

This page was added on 16/04/2018.

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