Ghost Playgrounds

Creative collaborators: Shaun Badham, Rose Croft and Luke Payn and Donne Buck
Project site: Ghost Playgrounds

A creative project exploring past, present and potential futures of Bretton’s GHOST PLAYGROUNDS

Across Bretton, Peterborough, you will find countless Ghost Playgrounds: former playgrounds, with the outline of where the equipment once stood still visible, that now exist as grey voids in the terrain.

Ghost Playgrounds is a collaborative, exploratory project interested in working with local people to find out about the histories of these spaces, how the spaces are used today and how people would like to see them develop going forward.

Ghost Playgrounds has consisted of different strands including: explorative playdays on the Ghost Playgrounds led by artists Rose Croft and Luke Payn; a series of visual responses produced by artist collaborator Shaun Badham, extensive interviews with original designer of the spaces Donne Buck, conversations with the community and archival research.

History of the Ghost Playgrounds:

The pioneering design for Bretton –  Peterborough’s first Township, designed by Peterborough Development Cooperation – included an advanced system of different tiers of play spaces, informed by leading research into child physiology at the time.

On the lower level of this tier system were so-called toddler ‘see and call spaces’ positioned in the centre of residential courtyard to allow parents to watch from windows as children played, and dotted along the pedestrian routes to inject a daily journey with play. 

Following the dispansion of the PDC, the equipment was removed, due to ‘health and safety concerns’ and ‘lack of funds to maintain’.

Removed in the 90’s, no work has since been done to repave, re-purpose, rectify.

Whilst there still exists a larger playground within Bretton Park, many younger children are not allowed out to go there – due to crime and perception of crime.


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