Playground Memories: The Witch's Hat and the Swing Boats

What was your favourite playground equipment? Did it always involve danger!

Was it the witch's hat, the swing boats, plank or cheese cutter? Why do they all sound like medieval torture devices and were they really that dangerous? 

The Witch's Hat was a thrilling combination of a climbing frame and a roundabout.

A group of children would grab opposite ends and run in the same direction. Then, your body would lift off the ground and you would (hopefully) be flying almost horizontally.

 Or, instead, you could pair people of varying sizes on opposite sides. This meant that the Witch's Hat would be off-balance, and one side would fly up into the air. What did you call it? Was it a Witch's Hat, The Umbrella or The Copper's Helmet?

Members of the Spring Chicken community have been taking their memories back to their local playground:

We had them when I was a child in the 50s. You soon learned to get out of the way.

I used to play on this in the 50s and 60s. It could make you hurl in seconds!

There were quite a few hospital cases with kids that got their knees stuck. 

How many broken limbs do you think resulted from riding the Witch's Hat?

Have you seen one since the 70s?

Let us know your playground memories in the comments section below - we'd love to hear from you!

Header Image Fun on the swingboats, Farthing Downs, Surrey
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Dr Neil Clifton -


1950s1960sChildhood memoriesDo you remember?Memory laneNostalgia

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