Opened in 1921 – Wicksteed Park is an amusement park, situated in Kettering, Northamptonshire, UK. It has been ranked second amongst the list of oldest parks in the UK, first being the Blackgang Chine located on the Isle of Wight. Wicksteed Park is connected to the rest of the world by main routes M1 and A1 and neighbours Midland Main Line situated in the midst of Sheffield and London. Today, Wicksteed Park is the theme park for families and children to spend their leisure time.
History of Wicksteed Park:
The foundation of Wicksteed Park was laid by Charles Wicksteed, who purchased the land for the park in 1913-14 and opened a factory for British Army in the same year following the support of his wife, Jane Lupton. Jane belonged to the famous Lupton Family. Wicksteed Park initially was famous for having huge slides and swings that children could not resist but to visit. Despite many pointy-fingers, Charles brought fame to the park in the early stages by adding charabancs (a type of horse-driven vehicle) and special trains. Also, it went several constructional modifications to improve the overall park theme for the public.
Who is Charles Wicksteed?
Born in 1847 in Leeds, Charles Wicksteed was an inventor and a Unitarian minister. Inspired by his father who was a clergyman in Leeds, Charles followed his passion of engineering from his early age. He joined the Kitson & Hewitson as an apprentice and learned a lot of things which led him to open a steam plough contracting business at the age of 21. Charles was a hard-working man and a devotee of his work; he used to work 16-hours a day to chase success, he had never touched alcohol in his life and did not indulge in enjoying any sport.
Charles, Wicksteed Park, and World War I:
A little do people know that Charles bought a land in 1914 during the first world war to land his factory for manufacturing of shells for the British Army, it was also the saddest time when his wife passed away leaving two sons behind. When the war was over Charles decided to give the locals a soothing gift so that they could overcome the horrors of the war, so he replaced the factory with a what we know today as Wicksteed Park, it opened for public in 1921. Charles was also an inventor who invented prefabricated buildings, Hydraulic hacksaw, suitable seating suit for humans, Wicksteed speed change gear and several other remarkable inventions.
(Photo: Evacuees at Wicksteed Park in Kettering during WWI)
Wicksteed Park – A Place of Attraction
After the death of Charles, the trustees of the park continued his passion and legacy by expanding the park and introducing more rides and slides to it. In fact, Wicksteed Park has received an honour of being the largest free playground in the UK. Wicksteed Park has fairground, Playgrounds, Lakeside, and Arena, occupied with rides, slides, locomotive train and much more. Wicksteed Park also hosts the annual display of Guy Fawkes Night.