The Historic Water Chute

One of Kinderland’s best loved features was the Water Chute.


Above: The Kinderland Water Chute (from the author’s personal collection)

Passengers boarded this boat-shaped vessel and were swiftly transported, via tracks, down to the nearby boating lake in Northstead Manor Gardens.

Manor Gardens

Above: The former Kinderland boating lake – the Water Chute tracks are just on the left behind the trees (source)

The descent ended with a huge splash, and the ride was completely free for Kinderland ticket holders.


Above: Another view of the Water Chute (source)

Although the Water Chute was acquired by Kinderland when the activity park opened in 1985 – the chute itself had existed since 1932, operating independently for over 50 years.

The Historic Water Chute

Above: An early postcard featuring the Water Chute (source)

The earliest water chutes were developed during the early twentieth century, and by the 1920s were making their way into fairs and parks across the UK.

southport water chute

Above: An early Water Chute in Southport (from the author’s collection)

Blackpool, Southport, Southend-on-Sea all had one, and North Yorkshire was no exception, with chutes opening in both Hull and Scarborough. The design is often attributed to Charles Wicksteed, who founded Wicksteed Park in Kettering. This park also, unsurprisingly, features a Water Chute – one of the first to be built and one of only a few still in operation today.


Above: The Water Chute at Wicksteed Park – very similar to the one in Scarborough (source)

Below: Charles Wicksteed (source)


In 1928 construction of the Water Chute in Northstead Manor Gardens (also known as Scarborough Pleasure Park) began, taking four years to complete and eventually opening alongside the nearby Open Air Theatre in 1932.

Pleasure Park

Above: Water Chute (centre), Open Air Theatre (background) and the miniature railway on the left (source)

One year earlier, the miniature railway had transported its first passengers past the Water Chute site, then under construction.


Above: The early days of the North Bay Railway (source)

Northstead Manor Gardens, which also featured a boating lake, was built on Hobson’s Slack – the geography of the area was ideal for an amphitheatre. The Open Air Theatre has been recently redeveloped following its closure between 1986 and 2010. It has since hosted a range of big name acts including Status Quo and JLS.


Above: The new Open Air Theatre (source)

The Water Chute has also benefited from recent regeneration in the Manor Gardens area. Having suffered vandalism and disrepair following the closure of former operator Kinderland in 2007, the attraction was restored and reopened in 2008 with funding from The Sands redevelopment project. It is now owned by North Bay Railway.


Above: North Bay Railway logo (source)

Whilst advances in engineering and design have since produced ever more complex and thrilling water rides, there is still something to be said for the simple pleasure of the original Water Chute experience. Indeed, its endurance as an attraction (for over 80 years!) is testament to this fact.

Have you taken a ride on the Water Chute? Do you remember it being part of Kinderland? Are there any mistakes in this post? Please comment below.


North Bay Railway

UK Rides Info

National Fairground Archive

Wicksteed Park

25 thoughts on “The Historic Water Chute

  1. Pingback: Great Crested Newts at Kinderland and Marvel’s | Stories From Scarborough

  2. Pingback: Swimming in Scarborough: Battle of the Bathing Pools | Stories From Scarborough

  3. Pingback: Stories From Scarborough: So Far | Stories From Scarborough

  4. Pingback: Scarborough, Sandcastles and Stories | Stories From Scarborough

  5. Pingback: Before The North Bay Bathing Pool: The Northstead Estate | Stories From Scarborough

  6. Pingback: Scarborough At The Museum of Water? | Stories From Scarborough

  7. Pingback: Kinderland Memories | Stories From Scarborough

  8. Pingback: North Bay Pool: For Bathing or Boating? | Stories From Scarborough

  9. Pingback: Gala Land: Did You Know…? | Stories From Scarborough

  10. Pingback: The Hispaniola: Did You Know…? | Stories From Scarborough

  11. Pingback: Kinderland: Did You Know…? | Stories From Scarborough

  12. Pingback: Sarah Coggrave: Stories From Scarborough | Crescent Arts Blog

  13. Pingback: After Monkey Island: The Scalby Mills Site | Stories From Scarborough

  14. Pingback: Drawing The Past | Stories From Scarborough

  15. Pingback: Scarborough During The 1980s | Stories From Scarborough

  16. Pingback: The Kinderland Controversy | Stories From Scarborough

  17. Pingback: Kinderland Opens! | Stories From Scarborough

  18. Pingback: Grandeur And Glamour At The Corner Cafe | Stories From Scarborough

  19. Pingback: The Wonder Pool Of The North | Stories From Scarborough

  20. Pingback: Floral Hall: An Introduction | Stories From Scarborough

  21. Pingback: Peasholm Park: A World Of Eastern Wonders? | Stories From Scarborough

  22. Pingback: An Open Air Theatre | Stories From Scarborough

  23. Pingback: The North Bay Miniature Railway | Stories From Scarborough

  24. Ah, the Kinderland waterslide. I would first have ridden that before Kinderland opened, when it was just a thing in Northstead Manor Gardens. My grandfather lived in Scarborough, and it would be a regular place to visit when we went to see him. The waterslide was great fun.

    I also have fond memories of the railway. One of the drivers of the train was a relative on my mothers side, though I’m not sure in what way he was a relation, and I don’t recall ever meeting him with the exception of one time when I got to ride right at the very front of the train thanks to him driving. It’s a very hazy memory, but it’s part of an overall memory of Scarborough from my childhood, which was always happy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s