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Water Chute at Wicksteed Park Given Protected Heritage Status

Water Chute At Wicksteed Park Given Protected Heritage Status

Britain’s oldest water Chute ride is among 1,000 sites given Protected Heritage Status in 2016. The Water Chute is a water ride that was designed and manufactured by Charles Wicksteed in 1926, and is one of the 21 odd sites given protective status in 2016.

The chute is situated in Wicksteed Park, which was created by Charles Wicksteed who originally manufactured steam ploughing engines, bicycles and automatic gear boxes, but came to specialise in children’s play equipment.

The successful businessman bought a large area of land to the south-east of Kettering in 1913, on which he created a village for his workers, in a similar tradition to Bournville or Port Sunlight. The local authority was given the responsibility for housing after World War I however, after which Wicksteed decided to turn his attention to providing an open space for the health and enjoyment of the public, opening the park in 1921.

He designed and installed the water chute in 1926, and it soon became a major attraction in the park. While this was not the first water chute to be erected in England, and others were built late on, the one at Wicksteed Park is the only one that has survived.

The water chute was given protected status because:

  • It is the oldest water chute in Britain, and one of the oldest surviving water-based rides in the world;
  • It has great architectural and design interest because the ride is still in virtually the same condition it was in when it was built, and the rider experience is the same as when the ride first opened;
  • Charles Wicksteed was a manufacturer and philanthropist who was acclaimed nationally and internationally for his influence on attitudes to children’s recreation, and the provision of purpose-designed play equipment, which gives the chute historic significance;

The Water Chute is in its original configuration, save for an early change by Wicksteed to its roof design in c.1931, when the original flat roof was replaced with a sweeping hipped roof to match the “house style” of contemporary structures in the park.

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Water Chute at Wicksteed Park Given Protected Heritage Status


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