In a joint 3-year project by Historic England and the Garden Trust the slide and play area within the Brunel Estate of Westbourne Park Road, Westminster, has been newly awarded grade II listed status and is among 24 other spectacular marvels and every-day wonders to be added to the National Heritage list.
As part of the project, the public were invited to send in their submissions of places of interest to be considered as examples of England’s best post-war parks, gardens or landscapes.
The slide structure of the Brunel Estate made the final list on account of architectural interest, design interest and group interest and is accompanied by the wider Brunel Estate, which was also added to the list.
Built to meet the area’s social housing needs, the Brunel Estate is a near-complete example of a typical early 70s urban housing estate and was designed by one of the leading landscape architects of the time, Michael Brown.
The landscape is barely altered from the original designs and has managed to retain one of its original play areas – Brown’s distinctive slide and its surrounding structure – which was built to encourage adventurous play and exploration and has itself only undergone minor modifications over the years with a view to improving safety.
The red-brick paving and monumental slide is one of the last surviving constructions from its period and represents a “particularly ambitious and inventive creation” and is one of very few items of play equipment to be listed.
Historically, the playground has been a little-known example of post-war landscape, given that it is tucked away at the back of the estate, but there is no doubt that it will continue to be appreciated and beloved by the local community especially in light of its new accolade.