Play Streets Past and Present (2014)


Funder: Heritage Lottery

Play Streets Past and Present got modern youngsters looking at the strips of concrete and tarmac outside their homes with new eyes.

The screams of delight of children playing on London’s streets of the past are ringing in the ears of kids living in those same streets today. Thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, London Play spent most of 2014 working with an oral historian and the Museum of London on this fascinating investigation into play on the street in London’s past.


Six streets across London were selected to take part in the project – which aimed to capture the memories older residents had of playing out as children, and to  revive that tradition by passing their stories onto younger generations through creative art and play sessions.

And revived it was!  Inspired by recollections of the fascination with outer space, children in Haringey found themselves taking off for distant galaxies in their self-built cardboard space rocket; Islington kids had a splash turning their street into a temporary river; and the teddy bears came out to play in Waltham Forest.

Read more about how we did it here and take a look at the case studies and resources available for download below.

For more information about the project, please email project worker Catherine Togut or call 0203 384 8510.

Museum of London

Canning Road case study
Brooke Road
Remembering and reminiscence
Winton Avenue case study
Oral history guide
Evacuee play trove
10 June: I have just come back from a full on day of filming the evacuees, I learnt so much. There so many people to coordinate in the crew. I’m looking forward to filming at St John’s Primary on Friday. Teresa the teacher said the children can’t wait to be on TV. Well we will
Evacuee play trove
17 July: It's been confirmed that the end of project event will be on Friday 18 October at the Churchill War Rooms! What a fitting venue - Churchill’s wartime bunker is a fascinating piece of living history; an underground maze of rooms that once buzzed with round-the-clock planning and plotting, strategies and secrets.


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