The Playground Rocking Horse Website

Old playground rocking horses. History photos and locations.

Welcome to the Playground Rocking Horse Website!

This site is dedicated to locating , documenting and preserving the vanishing breed of playground rocking horses.

Do you remember rocking madly on a Wicksteed rocking horse in your local playground as a child? Is the horse still there? Very probably not. Exaggerated fears about safety have seen a dramatic decline in horse numbers over the past two decades. Although these magnificent beasts are still produced by the wonderful people at Wicksteed (and two other fine British firms) it is now rare to see them in children's playgrounds

You can look through the gallery at photos of playground rocking horses around the world. There is a section giving a history of the British companies that made (and in some cases still make) these rides. In the links section you will find other websites relating to children's play. I only manage this site with a 'light touch' but I do try to update it now and again. I will always try to answer queries sent in via the 'contact us' page.

NB This site was previously known as 'The Playground Rocking Horse Trust' but a legal friend pointed out that the term 'Trust' may have special legal and financial implications - hence the modified title.



April 2018.

A Wicksteed horse, complete with rocking mechanisms and posts has just sold on eBay for over £1,000. I think this is a record for a horse on eBay. Although this may seem a high price it is a fraction of the price of a new horse and, importantly, this one appears to be complete and in good restorable condition. Well done to both the seller and the buyer for saving another horse! Hopefully the buyer will send in photos of the restoration!


 March 2018 

Thanks to Steve for reporting sightings of two Derbyshire horses, one in Rowarth (blue), the other in New Mills, Newtown (burgundy.) Both are Wicksteed models and both appear to be in reasonable condition.





January 2016

What appears to be a complete Wicksteed horse is currently for sale on eBay. Importantly it appears to have the rocking mechanism with it - many old horses for sale don't! This first appeared at £100 but now seems to be at £500 at which price it may not find a buyer.


Summer 2015

Several horses have been on sale on eBay recently. They include a couple of very unusual versions - photos have been added to the gallery. If you are looking to buy a horse then eBay seems the best place to search.


2014 The site has been 'in abeyance' this year as I have been working on other projects.


November 2013

Two very interesting horses on sale on Ebay this week. One of them most unusual. It appears to be the model shown in our gallery of 'old rocking horse sightings' titled 'Scarborough 1969'.


Autumn 2013

Take a look at the many new photographs from both Wicksteed and Hirst & Sons in the gallery. Wicksteed Ltd very kindly provided some historical images showing the design changes of the horse over an 85 year period.  I was also lucky enough to find a 1950s Hirst & Sons catalogue showing all their playground equipment including horses and rocking boats. Thank you eBay!

Many thanks to all the kind people who have sent in photos of horses recently. My apologies for the delay in getting them on the website - technical problems, hopefully now resolved.

May 2013

The 'Manufacturers' section now contains histories of all four British firms that produced playground rocking horses. Wicksteed Ltd have very kindly provided information on the company history and promised to look out some historical photos. Thanks also to Sutcliffe Play for additional information on the history of the Hirst horses. See the 'Manufacturers' pages to read more.

May 2012

Thanks to Steve Welsh for photos of a fully functional Lincolnshire horse (see the Gallery pages) and to Justin Hampson for news of a horse in Chesham (see the 'Surviving Horses' pages).

March 2012

Another good looking Wicksteed horse is for sale on ebay this week, located in Northants.

February 2012

A Wicksteed horse in need of some restoration has just been listed on ebay at: 

January 2012

A fascinating exhibition on children's play is due to open at the      V & A Museum of Childhood later this year. We understand that playground rocking horses will feature among the displays! Watch the Museum website and this page for further news.  

September 2011

More good news of another local council who wisely ignored the doom-mongers who said their horse could not be repaired. Peover Superior Parish Council in Cheshire found an excellent local contractor - Suttons of Macclesfield, who did a great job of restoration. See pictures of the restoration in the photo gallery. The horse sadly had its head stolen a while ago so now we are looking out for a replacement. Any offers to the website or direct to the parish council please.

August 2011

What a busy few weeks on the website gallery ! First a wonderful restoration of a Hirst Ultra Rocker in Gravesend, then engineer Phil Clark shows how he built a horse from scratch. And now photos from ANOTHER restoration of a Hirst horse - this time in Keighley.

So take a look at the Gallery and do send in your pictures and news.

July 2011

Our website was featured this week on the Canadian website 'Playgroundology'. Go to our links page to visit this lovely site.

June 2011

Interesting news that the V&A Museum of Childhood is planning an exhibition on post war children's play some time in the future.

October 2011

Take a look at some interesting new links on the LINKS page too.

Please keep your news and sightings coming in via the 'Contact Us' page. 









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