The ice skating season is upon us so we thought it timely to take a look at where the oldest rink is located.
QUEENS: Skate, Dine, Bowl at 17 Queensway in Bayswater houses what’s generally said to be the oldest surviving ice skating rink in London, having opened its doors as QUEENS Ice Club on 3rd October, 1930.
It was the work of architect and entrepreneur Alfred Octavius Edwards who apparently had a passion for ice skating.
It was apparently the first rink used by the BBC for televised ice skating and a number of world and Olympic champions have skated here.
The establishment underwent a revamp a couple of years ago (although bowling lanes were added as far back as 1994) and now features a wide range of amenities including, as well as the ice rink, bowling lanes, a vintage games arcade and bars and a diner. For more on Queens, see https://queens.london.
Ice-skating. PICTURE: rawpixel/Unsplash
• London’s obsession with ice-skating is the subject of an exhibition which opened at the Museum of London earlier this month. Skating on Ice looks at the history of the popular pastime, from the 12th century – when locals are described strapping animals bones to their feet to skate on ice at Moorfields – across the centuries (and the developments that went with them) to today. Among the artefacts on show is an 1839 oil painting by J Baber depicting skaters on the Serpentine in Hyde Park, sketches from the London Illustrated News showing a rescue operation to recover the 40 of some 40 skaters who plunged beneath the ice in Regent’s Park on 15th January, 1867, a navy blue gabardine skirt suit from Fortnum & Mason dating from the 1930s and a series of skates, ranging from some made of animal bones through to a pair of Victorian racing skates known as Fen Runners and a pair of ice skates used from the late 1930s by Londoner Christina Greenberry at Streatham Ice Arena. Runs until 8th February. Entry is free. See www.museumoflondon.org.uk for more. (Pictured – ice-skating in the Tower of London moat).
• Christmas is looming and so, if you haven’t been out and about already, here’s five Christmas trees worth seeing over the coming few days (excluding the obvious one in Trafalgar Square):
- Covent Garden. Always a glittering treat (this year complete with virtual prizes!).
- St Pancras International. A rather odd design this year, this 100 foot tall tree is inspired by the Cirque du Soleil show Amaluna and lights up every time a donation is made to Oxfam.
- Granary Square, Kings Cross. Looking like a Christmas tree frozen inside an ice-cube, this seven metre high installation – Fighting fire with ice cream – by British artist Alex Chinneck features some 1,200 lights.
- Tate Britain, Millbank. An upside down tree, designed by Iranian artist Shirazeh Houshiary.
- Connaught Hotel, Mount Street, Mayfair. Designed by British sculptor Antony Gormley, this 57 foot tall tree features a trunk transformed into a pillar of light.
• Prince Charles last week unveiled the foundation stone for a tower that will take visitors to Westminster Abbey into the institution’s new museum and galleries. The tower is being built outside Poet’s Corner – between the 13th century Chapter House and 16th-century Henry VII’s Lady Chapel – and will be the principal entrance to the medieval triforium, which has never before been opened to the public and which house the proposed The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries. The tower and galleries, costing almost £23 million, will be the most significant addition to the abbey since Nicholas Hawksmoor’s west towers were completed in 1745. The galleries, which will be located 70 feet above the abbey’s floor, are due to open in summer 2018, and will display treasures from the abbey’s history as well as offering magnificent views of Parliament Square and the Palace of Westminster. To help meet the cost of the new galleries, the abbey has launched a #makehistory campaign asking for public donations to the project. For more, see www.westminster-abbey-galleries.org/Content/Filler.
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• Christmas is looming and snow and ice have been besieging London. But there’s plenty you can do to keep warm, including visiting one of the many ice skating venues about the city. Among those with a particularly historic location are rinks at Hampton Court (located against the backdrop of the palace’s west front, it’s open until 9th January – see website for ticket prices and times), in the moat of the Tower of London (also open until 9th January, see website for ticket prices and times), and at Somerset House (open until 23rd January, see website for ticket prices and times).
• The British Military Tournament 2010 will be held at Earl’s Court this weekend. The programme features 500 troops, 145 horses, military bands, the field gun run and will include a re-enactment of a combat incident in Afghanistan involving recently returned troops. Presented by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, with performances on both Saturday and Sunday. For more information – including booking information, see www.britishmilitarytournament.com.
• New blue plaques have been unveiled in London marking the former homes of speed daredevils Sir Malcolm Campbell and his son Donald, and ground-breaking photographer Bill Brandt. The plaque for the Campbells, who between them set 10 land speed records and 11 water speed records, is located at Canbury School in Kingston-upon-Thames – Sir Malcolm moved here in 1919, married to Dorothy Whittall the following year, and, Donald was born here in 1921. The family moved in 1922 to Surrey. The plaque for German-born Brandt, meanwhile, was unveiled at 4 Airlie Gardens in Campden Hill. He lived here with his second wife Marjorie Beckett from 1958 and family members still live in the home. Some of his nudes were taken inside. For more information, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk.