NORTHSTEAD MANOR GARDENS WATER CHUTE
Harry Smith, the Borough Engineer, designed and developed the area we now know as Northstead Manor Gardens in three stages. The first stage opening in 1929 was the area at the top of the hill where 10 tennis courts, an open-air roller-skating rink, a cycling area (later used for cycle proficiency tests) and a café were built. Stage two included digging out a small lake to be used for children’s paddle boats, the water chute and a miniature railway running from within the park to Scalby Mills. This second stage of development was opened in 1931. Stage three was the construction of the Open Air Theatre which opened in 1932.
Harry introduced the water chute as part of stage two. It was from a design by Charles Wicksteed whose original water chute was one of the world’s first water-based joy rides and had been placed in Wicksteed Park, Kettering in 1926. There are only three of these chutes left now, the one at Wicksteed Park, grade 2 listed in 2016, one at East Park Hull, grade 2 listed 2003 and the one at Scarborough, awarded grade 2 listed building status in April 2017. Sadly, it would seem that Charles Wicksteed wouldn’t see the Scarborough chute in use as he died of influenza in the same year as it opened. It is nice to see that it is in the good hands of the North Bay Miniature Railway company who are doing a wonderful job of redeveloping this area of the park.