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Play streets past inspire holiday fun

by Fiona on July 24, 2014

24 July 2014 I London Play

With play streets really taking off across the capital this summer, play street history is set to come back to the future at the Museum of London.

Here’s a chance to work some magic this summer holidays – by bringing the outside in and the past into the future. But don’t worry; no special powers are needed, just plenty of enthusiasm and a sense of fun. The Museum of London and London Play are inviting all-comers to help artists, play workers and puppeteers at the Museum of London build a giant cardboard model of a London street, and bring it to life with games, songs and performance – recreating the archetypal London Play Street.

For the past few months the charity London Play has been working with residents in six streets across the capital – asking older people about how they played out in the past and using their stories to inspire their younger neighbours to revive the tradition of street play.  And revive it they have – with ‘art and play’ events on the streets so far featuring cardboard space rockets, Alice in Wonderland tea parties and good old water fights – igniting a thirst for more.
Older residents in the six streets remember having the run of their neighbourhoods – in stark contrast to the constraints children living there are under today. Cars were few and far between and one resident recalled that the first car that parked on the road was “an Austin 7 with wire spoke wheels.” Elsewhere, reminiscences about the excitement around space travel in the 60s led to re-enactments of the Apollo launch on the street in Haringey.

With the involvement of community artists, an oral historian and the boundless energy, creativity and enthusiasm of ordinary Londoners, a real cornucopia of stories has been amassed. From more traditional skipping games to edgier tales that would curl the nostrils of today’s ‘elf n safety brigade – you can hear all about it and wonder why we’ve given up these valuable community spaces to the car.

Play streets are making a comeback to the capital’s streets and this unique event is hoped to inspire more Londoners to get the magic happening in their own communities. What can you expect? Active, healthy children; friendlier, safer neighbourhoods; and a lot of fun in the process.

There is no need to book For the Museum of London workshops – just turn up on the day. Workshops are suitable for all ages (whether you are 3 or 103!) and run from 11am-1pm and 2-4pm, Tuesday 12 to Friday 15 August 2014.

Contact Catherine Togut on 0203 384 8511 or

A full press release is downloadable below or see the event listing here.



  • Pdf
    20140724 Play Streets Past & Present

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