Donne Buck discusses social facilities in Stevenage [Text only]

'But because Stevenage was in the first phase of post war new towns, there was a grave shortage of social facilities...'

Stevenage Museum

But because Stevenage was in the first phase of post war new towns, there was a grave shortage of social facilities. The emphasis was very much on building homes for people and there were quite a few people who moved to the new towns, including Stevenage, from the East End of London for example, and were so at a loss because they weren’t used to having separate houses where they didn’t know any of the neighbours and where they hadn’t got the same variety of pubs and other local services that they were used to, they actually moved back to the East End and other parts of London.  So it was very important that Stevenage developed its own local services as soon as possible and to do that it was necessary to encourage people to set up their own services.

As far as the adventure playgrounds were concerned, they were much later. I think that Stevenage was probably started in about 1948, so it wasn’t until 1967 that the idea of adventure playgrounds began to catch on having been tried out and developed in London for quite some time before that.  And the local people, families in Bandley Hill decided that they needed a place for their children to play, which wasn’t just formal swings and roundabouts type of playground, but a place where the children could determine their own play, build their own facilities to some extent, but where there would be skilled staff to keep an eye on things to help them and to maintain a certain amount of order.  And so Joan Herbert and her husband and a group of other local parents in Bandley Hill, set up a lottery, local lottery, where they collected a shilling a week from local families and gave a prize of course, or gave a series of prizes each week, and the profit was put into a fund to develop

This page was added on 16/04/2018.

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