|The Rushden Echo, 8th August 1969, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Playfield Dangers Alarm Parents
Many Rushden people have been shocked and alarmed by the dangerous condition of two of Rushden’s playgrounds.
A probe into allegations about their dangerous state last week revealed objects in Jubilee Park and the playground in Harborough Way which could injure maim or even kill unsuspecting children.
Council workmen have since been out making safe some of the equipment in the playgrounds. But on Tuesday we still found a number of things which had not been remedied.
In Jubilee Park, Bedford Road, a new board has been screwed on to the middle of the seesaw where six-inch screws were protruding by at least half an inch.
The broken safety ring, a metal stump which would have gone into a child’s stomach if he or she fell forward, has been removed from one of the multiple-seater swings.
Nails which were sticking out on another swing have also been taken away.
But we found that broken glass around the public lavatories still remained and the guardrail at the top of the slide had not been mended. This was still held together with a piece of wire.
In Harborough Way there was still glass lying on the ground.
The sandpit in Jubilee Park did not seem to have been cleared out. There were still pieces of sharp-edged slate on the surface.
When we first visited the park with Mr. Victor Leer, proprietor of the White House Nursery School, Rushden, who first discovered the dangerous state of the sandpit, there were several pieces of broken glass. These were raked out by Mr. Leer.
This week several people living near Jubilee Park expressed their alarm and shock at the discoveries. But they also had a certain amount of sympathy for the problems facing the council.
“I was very annoyed when I read about the conditions there,” said Mrs. Dorothy Kirby, of 165 Bedford Road.
“You expect these things are safe and in good repair so it comes as a bit of a shock when you read this sort of thing,” said Mrs. M. E. Sturgess, of 204 Bedford Road, whose 12-year-old son Paul told us that the broken safety ring had been in that state for two or three years.
Mrs. J. Horsley, of 184 Bedford Road, echoed those sentiments. “You assume these things are properly maintained.”
Mrs. Henrietta Andrews, of 84 Bedford Road, who said that she exercised her dog in the park, blamed children for the conditions.
“I am horrified by the way children break bottles there. Recently a friend’s dog had to have its toe off after it cut it on glass in the park. One just doesn’t know what to do. The council could look after it a bit better if they had the staff to do it.”
Mrs. Barbara Morris, of 227 Bedford Road, also blamed teenagers for the condition of the playground in Jubilee Park. “It’s just one or two who spoil it for everyone else,” she said.
Deputy surveyor for Rushden council, Mr. O. P. Smith, said on Tuesday that any glass around the public lavatories must have been deposited there recently.
“We went up there and cleared it all away last week. In my view the guardrail on the slide is safe.”