Many Londoners have been getting their skates on this season and getting amongst the fun in the lead up to Christmas. Bruised knees or graceful spins, the vibe is positive amongst those who have got involved.
Girl!Reporter ‘reported’ towards the end of November that she had ‘been ice skating more in the last week than I have in the last 10 years, and my aching legs are the evidence.’ She ‘spent two consecutive evenings trying out two of the rinks on offer in London,’ in Canary Wharf and Tower Hill respectively, preferring the latter for its atmospheric qualities.
On the other side of London, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is a big hit with London’s bloggers. The Perfectlyhappymum blog wrote about her third annual visit:
“A place like Winter Wonderland is like a concentration of all these good feelings. The smells, the colours, the music, the atmosphere… They got it all right.”
“If you are anything like me, then go, you so won’t regret it!”
For those wanting something a bit more swish though, there’s the ice rink at Somerset House, perhaps the most upmarket and swanky rink on offer in the capital. Said to be ‘London’s most glamorous ice rink,’ myfashionconnect blog also say it is the perfect place to ‘get yourselves into the festive mood, and glide to the tunes of Tchaikovsky or selections by top DJs’. A-listers like Pippa Middleton have been seen strapping their skates on there recently.
London Drum said the following, putting it plain and simple:
“London has plenty of outdoor ice rinks at Christmas time, but if you only go to one this year, make it this one”.
The truth is, Londoners are spoilt for choice when it comes to ice skating. You’ve also got the rink at the Natural History Museum which, ‘set amidst 76,000 sparkling white pea lights, is recognised as one of most special locations in the capital.’
However, amongst all this festive fun and overshadowing such festive cheer, is the Streatham ice rink debacle. Following a decision made back in 2007, the rink (which opened in 1931) will be ‘demolished to make way for a Tesco’ much to the disapproval of many members of the local community.
The UK’s second oldest ice rink will be moved three miles away from its original setting, yet ‘about 2,000 people signed a petition to stop the temporary rink being built on Streatham Common,’ angry at the fact they won’t have access to such an important venue in the area for at least another two years.
Last week the Evening Standard reported that ‘more than 500 people’ were ‘expected to attend the closing party for Streatham ice rink’ last weekend. It was reported ‘Candice Towler-Green, manager at the rink and a former British junior skating champion, said the goodbye ceremony would be “very emotional”‘ – and this was certainly the case as it closed its doors for good last Sunday.
“Personally I don’t want a new super duper state of the art fancy rink; I would stay in the old rink until it literally crumbled on top of me. It has been and will always remain a part of me and I don’t think it’s over dramatic to say that I can’t imagine life without it.”
On the wall of the Facebook event ‘Streatham Ice Rink Closing Gala and Party,’ comments suggested a very sombre mood, with Sharon Morgan saying she was ‘sorry for the sad loss of Streatham Ice Rink,’ a place ‘which provided so much entertainment and learning.’ London musician Lettie also expressed her displeasure on Facebook with a passionate status update:
“After 75 years they are demolishing a beautiful building, ripping apart a community, to make way for Tesco even though there is a huge Morrisons right next door. It breaks my heart.”
So, when you are strapping on your skates over the next few weeks, spare a thought for the Streatham ice rink. Whilst Londoners embrace the glitz and glamour of temporary rinks all around the city, Streatham residents will be mourning the loss of a historic building that has stood at the centre of their community for 80 years.