Now councillors have backed a campaign to save the slide – described as a “great focal point” – from being destroyed.
Built in the 1980s, the slide is the largest in Islington, but is set to be torn down in both of the plans put forward by Islington Council to improve facilities in the Hillrise park.
The proposals, which are in the final stages of consultation, include increased lawn space for informal sports, brand new play area equipment, and a refurbished multi-use ball court.
Local residents and councillors have been requesting that the park undergo such improvements for several years.
Carl Quilliam, a Liberal Democrat campaigner, is leading the #SaveTheSlide twitter campaign. He described the slide as a “local landmark”, and insisted that it can be accommodated into the council’s improvements.
The campaign has the support of Hillrise councillors Lorraine Constantinou and Greg Foxsmith.
Ms Constantinou said: “The slide has been there for donkey’s years – it’s quite historic. It has got so much character, and it’s the thing that I see kids using and enjoying most when they come to the park. If it goes, the park will lose some of that character.
“The improvement plans went over our head – they came from Islington Council. Neither of them included the slide, I’m not sure if it’s due to health and safety issues or whatever. The slide stands out and is the main thing you see when you visit the park. The new proposals seem so flat – it will be a bit boring.”
Matt Ley is a regular visitor to the park with his two daughters Trixie, eight, and Cora, six: “My kids love to play on that slide and it would be a shame to see it go. We go there after their swimming lessons at Archway Pool.”
An online petition entitled ‘Save the Archway slide’ has also been launched. The petition states: “We want to see this unique piece of playground architecture updated as the centerpiece of the new playground” and can be found here.
My Slide Experience
The slide at Archway Park is a relic of a bygone era before health and safely encroached on children’s playtimes. Nestled high atop a concrete mound – and surrounded by stone bollards – the slide certainly looks like a death trap.
As I climbed the steps to the top, a worried passer-by shouted at me to “watch out for those nasty pillars – they’d knock you out”. Standing at the top, I shared her concern.
It is clear why the council is keen to regenerate Archway Park. With more concrete than grass, the atmosphere is not particularly welcoming for families with small children.
During my visit, the only people using the ‘park’ were a group of older school children who delighted in throwing sticks at me as I went down the slide.
Despite all the concrete and the unwelcoming atmosphere, I understand why children are gutted about the plans to rip it out: It really is great fun to slide down – even for an adult like me. Going down backwards was genuinely terrifying, not something you get in many modern-day playgrounds.
Soft grass instead of a concrete mound would make it much safer and more visually appealing. There is no reason why the current slide cannot be incorporated into the regeneration plans.