Saturday, July 7, 2012

The old children's playground.

Within P. E. Estate, there was only one specially built children's playground in the early '60s.

It was a small playground built by the "City Council", a term used by the residents to refer to the authorities then.
It was of the standard design of that time and comprised 2 swings and 2 see-saws built over a sand pit. 
The swings had seats of wooden boards and the see-saw were made of the same wooden material.
The swings hung from the metal frames on metal chains that would squeaked very loudly.

This was how it looked like then.

This playground was located at the far corner of the field in front of block 17.
However, only children, who would be in their late 40s or 50s today, would know of this playground.
This playground was removed when they started constructing the community centre in 1963 over the grounds.

I used to spend lots of time playing on the swings and see-saw with my siblings and neighbours. One neighbour, Debbie, still remembers that she had to place a handkerchief on the wooden seat to avoid getting splinters!

In the picture above, you can see one of the swings in a sort of funny position. It actually has its chain wrapped around the frame bars. Kids today would not know but there was a reason for doing that.

The swings were built in a sand pit and over time as children play on the swing, there would be a natural depression or deep groove created under the swing path. The depression would get so large that when it rains, the area under the swing would become a big puddle of water.

Smart children would wrap the chain around the frame so that they can still play the swing even with a puddle of water under it. If they didn't do that, they would get their feet wet trying to retrieve the swing hanging over the puddle!

The same problem was to be had with the see-saws. As the ends of the see-saw hit the sand, it created a depression. Whenever it had rained, we would find the sitting ends of the see-saws submerged and that would put the see-saws out of commission until the puddle dried out.

Those days the swings and see-saws were just rudimentary. 
Children born much later during the HDB era would have better facilities and playgrounds. 
Remember the dragon slides at HDB housing estates?
Even those have now been replaced by safer and ergonomically design playgrounds today.

The HDB dragon playgrounds of the 1980s & 1990s.

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