Playing Out

With RoSPA 100 years on

On a dusty sunny day we entered in through that front gate of Buckingham Palace.  We were ushered across the gravel, under the famous balcony and through an archway into a large closed courtyard. The way then led through a gallery and onto the lawn for RoSPA’s Garden Party with Prince Andrew and some 3,500 other RoSPA guests.

I was with Nazan Fennell, Guardian and now Archangel for RoSPA and fellow Archangel Cynthia from Road Peace.  Nazan has campaigned locally, nationally and across Europe for greater road safety on a range of issues. Nazan’s approach and campaigning has been inspirational – It has fed my enthusiasm to see different use for our streets, not just for drivers, working with others leading to ‘playing out‘ and now ‘Active Streets‘.

RoSPA campaign poster from 1969 – anyone know more about this campaign?

RoSPA have their headquarters in Birmingham, and Birmingham Archives holds its Archives, including this rather interesting image of an unknown ‘Play Street’ from 1969, used on the last page of the brochure for the Garden party.  Interesting the concept keeps popping up  – I’d love to find the street this is based on, or any other street with those ‘Play Street’ signs.

Royal Cake just inside the ‘Diplomatic tent’ enclosure

Back to the party – it was fantastic to see Prince Andrew’s support for RoSPA, and I was pleased the work of our West Midlands Police for road safety was also recognised (and they got to meet Prince Andrew).  The bands played throughout the day and the cucumber sandwiches were fantastic, as was all the food.  I couldn’t help imagining Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant hiding by the lake.

Christine, Cynthia and Nazan at Buckingham Palace

On our way back we stopped at Camden, Cynthia’s home and one of the early Council CLOCs champions.  Following a series of cyclist deaths after truck collisions in London 2012, the CLOCs report offers some simple measures which Councils like Birmingham could enforce to reduce danger, as well as mud and rubble on the roads, and reducing disruption across the city.

Attending an event like this it does make you realise how much support there is to make our roads safer for all it’s users, not just the drivers.  Active Streets in Birmingham, working with partners like RoSPA, Live in Hope and Road Peace, can change attitudes further to make safer and better streets for residents and traffic.