THIS picture shows the final touches being put towards what we believe to be the first modern children’s playground in Darlington’s South Park.

We publish it in dismay at the recent fire in which the pirate ship playground was pointlessly destroyed.

The Northern Echo:

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The burnt out shell of the play area in South Park, Darlington

The old picture appeared in the Echo’s sister paper, the Evening Despatch, on March 9, 1968, beneath the headline: “Opening soon for children – a fun slide in a play area.”

“Soon Darlington children will be able to enjoy themselves on this Wendy House slide,” said the caption beneath the picture. “It is one of the amusements which is being put up in a new play area to be opened shortly in South Park.”

“Wendy House” is an interesting phrase. The first “Wendy House” was built by Peter Pan in JM Barrie’s 1904 play, The Boy Who Never Grew Up. The character Wendy Darling arrived from Neverland, was shot by one of the Lost Boys and fell to the ground, so Peter Pan built a house around her as she lay.

What sort of play equipment do you remember in your local park?