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Campaign launched to build new ‘Joy Slide’ in Bermondsey

A campaign has been launched to build a new ‘Joy Slide’ in Bermondsey, decades after the much-loved original in the churchyard of St James and St Anne was torn down.

The old wooden slide, which was built in 1921 and brought delight to generations of Bermondsey children, was donated by Arthur Carr, chairman of Peak Freans.

A newspaper report at the time told of kids speeding down the slide “at well over the speed limit”, filling the air with the sounds of “uncontrolled delight.”

It reads: “For today in the shadow of St. James’s Church, nay, in the very consecrated ground of the churchyard itself, you will find the nucleus of a real live fun-city, a wonderful joy-slide, with the youngsters of Jamaica Road shooting down on it on their doormats at well over the speed limit, and shrieking and yelling with uncontrolled delight.”

The enthralled journalist deemed the slide “the brightest thing in all Bermondsey”, adding that it “ought to do the local trousers trade a power of good.”

The launch of the Joy Slide
The launch of the Joy Slide including Arthur Carr, chairman of Peak Freans, in the middle

The campaign has been launched by the Friends of St James Churchyard, organised by Southwark Lib Dem leader Anood Al-Samerai.

She said: “It’s still early days and there will be lots of funding to find, but I have no doubt that the whole community will get behind making this exciting project happen.”

The fire was damaged by fire in the 1980s and eventually torn down, to be replaced by a modern playground. However, those with long enough memories still reminisce about the old joy slide and dream of a replacement.

Canon Gary Jenkins, of St James and St Anne Church, told the News: “We’d like to get it back. Lots of people remember. Lots of people have memories about it so we’d love to make it happen.”

He added: “I find that hardly a funeral visit goes by without someone from the family reminiscing about the glory days of Bermondsey’s Joy Slide.”

Can you help? Please contact Canon Gary Jenkins on 0207 394 6449.

Children playing on the original Joy Slide
Children playing on the original Joy Slide

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