Half-pipe dreams: Crying out for skateparks in 1990s Norwich
- Credit: Archant Library
Growing up in the 1990s came with its perks but for many teenagers in Norwich there was something missing.
It was a time of Brit Pop, the Spice Girls and England even hosted a major football tournament.
But the city centre lacked a dedicated skatepark and for some that was a real grind.
These old photos from the archive capture the Norwich Skateboard Rally at Chapelfield Gardens in 1997.
Organised by young skateboarders, the event aimed to promote a positive image of the sport and the people who enjoyed it.
The enthusiasts also wanted more low-cost leisure facilities in the city centre and used the rally to try and persuade the City Council to build skateparks and ramps in Norwich.
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There were some facilities on the city fringes like the Heartsease Bowl - also known as 'The Bathtub' - and further afield in places like north Norfolk or Fakenham.
But back then city skaters were mostly forced to practise on the road, use homemade ramps or find spaces that were not designed for skateboarding which caused safety concerns.
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The council lacked the funds to build these facilities at the time and it would be several years before there was a dedicated skatepark in Norwich.
Did you know?
- The history of skateboarding started around the 1940s or 1950s in California.
- It was the product of frustrated surfers getting creative and inventing a land-based activity they could enjoy when the waves were not gnarly enough to ride.
- The first skateboards were wooden crates with roller skate wheels on the bottom - almost like scooters. But they evolved into planks of wood with wheels in a more recognisable form we see today.