The iconic Bermondsey ‘joy slide’ which brought delight to Bermondsey children a century ago is being reconstructed – by a relative of the man who was responsible for the original.
The first joyslide was created in the grounds of Bermondsey’s St James’ Church after Arthur Carr of Peek Frean’s Biscuit Factory noticed children using the steps of the church as a slide.
It stood from 1921 until the 1980s, but then was pulled down after becoming a victim of vandalism.
Now Arthur’s great-great grandson, Fergus, has designed a new slide – and it’s under construction.
Canon Gary Jenkins, of St James’ Church, told the News that the project was half-way completed and that the new slide was expected to be open earlier next year.
“Over the years when you meet people around the parish, over and over again they tell us of their memories of the slide,” he said. “So we said, ‘let’s see if we can have another one and keep it going.’
“I’m delighted that it’s happening. I’m delighted for the children and I’m delighted we’re marking the history of Bermondsey.”
Fergus Carr, who is an architect, designed the slide completely free-of-charge and it is currently being constructed by a specialist playgrounds company. It will be opened exactly a century on from the original.
The project is supported by the Friends of St James’ and Southwark Council, and has been four years in the making.
Part of the slide will have details of the history of the original. Planters of flowers will also follow, in a nod to the legacy of Ada Salter’s ‘beautification’ of Bermondsey.
A special ceremony to formally open the slide once complete is set to follow. Canon Jenkins told the News he was hoping for a “special guest” to do the honours – but would not be drawn on who that person would be.