Lady Allen – the godmother of play – speaks

This is a great post from Tim Gill at Rethinking Childhood. When I started poking around the world of play and playgrounds about four years ago, adventure playgrounds immediately jumped out at me as incredible places of discovery and challenge. I had never seen anything like them before though they have existed in Europe since the 1940s. It really is a pity that Canada never signed on to this adventurous experiential play. But there’s still time….

If you’re not familiar with Tim’s Rethinking Childhood, or Paige’s playscapes, give yourself a treat and check out what they have to offer.

Rethinking Childhood

Here is a true gem from the archives of play: extended video footage of Lady Allen of Hurtwood. Lady Allen is the foremost figure in the history of children’s play in the UK (I reviewed her classic Planning for Playavailable as a pdf from the marvellous Playscapes blog – in a previous post). The video focuses on the staffed adventure playgrounds Lady Allen created in the 1960s and 1970s to provide play opportunities for disabled children, some of which continue today under the management of the charity Kids.

Some health warnings: at times the language used in the video to describe the children is old-fashioned, inappropriate, and even offensive to today’s ears – though in Lady Allen’s day the terms were standard. Also, the video is somewhat grainy and jumpy. Oh – and Lady Allen’s accent could cut glass at 20 paces. But do not let…

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