Where Wicksteed Park all began
Hello everyone. My name is Charles Wicksteed, and this is my park! Just how did Wicksteed Park come to be, I hear you ask? Well, let me take you back…
It’s 1913 and I have just purchased a tract of beautiful Northamptonshire meadow land. Why Charles? Well, my intention was to create an open, safe park land area where families and children could play. At this time, many homes had no garden, forcing children to play in the street!
During this period, I also owned an engineering company, that supplied park equipment far and wide; some of this equipment can still be found in Wicksteed Park today.
As the park developed, excited crowds were drawn in from all over to see attractions like the Train, Charabancs and the Waterchute. Wicksteed Park was one of the first ever leisure parks in the UK and today, The Wicksteed Charitable Trust continue the work and goals I set out when first creating the park.
A little about me...
I was born in Leeds in 1847 and spent my school days on Wales. My early passion for engineering was reflected by my five-year apprenticeship at Kitson & Hewitson.
At the age of 21, I set up a steam plough business, working mainly in Norfolk. In 1871, my ploughs and I arrived in Kettering! I settled here where I met (and later married in 1877) my wife Mary Jean Gibb. I was a proud father to two sons and a daughter.
After the Great War, development at Wicksteed continued, with my play equipment being constructed initially for the park, but then all over. Some of my original attractions are a little different to those you’ll experience at the park today!
Continuing My Work
My beloved dog Jerry and I would often walk around Wicksteed Park, inspecting all the developments. If I wasn’t walking, I’d whizz around in my open-topped Humber car! In 1916, the Wicksteed Village Trust (now The Wicksteed Charitable Trust) was formed to continue my work.
In 1926, I introduced the Waterchute, which is still in operation today. At the time, it was one of the first water-based rides in the world! This was followed in 1928 by the cycle track and Pavilion, with the famous Wicksteed Railway starting in 1930. Unfortunately, I never got to see the Railway open in 1931, but I’m so pleased it’s enjoyed by thousands every year!