A Life of Skating

By Bee Beardsworth

When you look at the history of skating, it doesn’t immediately appear to be a UK thing, with pop culture leaning towards the legacy of films like Lords of Dogtown and behemoth brands like Supreme. However, there seems to be nowhere that the subculture and lifestyle has rooted itself more outside of the US than in the UK.

Although originally fabricated by frustrated American surfers in the late 1950s, skating had its first major breakthrough in Britain in the 1970s. This era was one of huge social change and countercultural movements, and skating became intertwined with youth culture and alternative lifestyle. Skate parks began to open across the UK, with bowls based on suburban swimming pools, and magazines Skateboard! and R.A.D. established a form of easily transferable documentation of the new communities. Despite many skateparks closing owing to insurance issues, health and safety concerns, and (very likely) conservative county rulings, the streetskating scene became a mainstay in many smaller towns across the country, offering an inexpensive and accessible form of alternative pastime and a place of belonging.