It was 100 years ago that Charles Wicksteed made the first swing and so began manufacturing play equipment from his Engineering Works in Digby Street, Kettering. Having donated Wicksteed Park, the first children’s play park for the community, Charles Wicksteed went on to manufacture exciting and appealing play equipment. To celebrate the life of Charles Wicksteed a blue plaque was unveiled by the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP who is Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. Now trading as Wicksteed Playgrounds, the play, sports and fitness equipment manufacturing company, based on the original site, is still the leading outdoor play company in Great Britain.
The event took place under a misty, grey sky but the light patter of rain on Wicksteed umbrellas did not dull the sense of excitement and occasion. Lord Howard, Chairman of Wicksteed, also welcomed The Mayor and Mayoress of Kettering and other notable guests to the ceremony which marks a feel-good celebratory story to commemorate a local benefactor and a company which has been going strong since it first opened its doors as an engineer in 1876.
The occasion was greatly enhanced by the presence of several staff who have been with the Company for over 40 years and a large number of others who have been there for more than 25 years. Oliver Wicksteed, great grandson of Charles Wicksteed and Chairman of Wicksteed Park, was also present as were members of the Kettering Civic Society.
Whilst this event commemorated Charles Wicksteed and his great contribution to Kettering it also recognises a company which is constantly evolving and consistently producing innovative, imaginative and exciting products and design services for today’s competitive market.
This blue plaque – fixed to the brick wall of the factory founded by Charles Wicksteed in 1876, is a fitting tribute and one of which he would be immensely proud.