Streatham Ice Skating Action Group


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(*) Updated 12.09.14

  • Streatham Ice Rink was opened on 26th February 1931. Queens Ice Rink (opened 1930) is the only older rink in the UK that is still open.
  • The building was designed by Robert Cromie, a renowned designer of cinemas in the 1930s. The facade was built in reconstructed Portland stone and black faience. The interior decor was very unusual - "a kind of kaleidoscopic scheme ... in a series of interwoven patterns, each based upon some ordinary motif in everyday life, such as a viaduct, tower, battleship, tree, gramophone record, waves and the like"
  • Advantage was taken of the sloping site to place the ice surface at a lower level than the entrance hall. The ice surface was 210 ft. long by 100 ft. wide (larger than the current international standard size of 60m x 30m).
  • 3000 people attended the opening. The headline in the local paper was "Don't go to Switerland: Come to Streatham". Ice skating was no longer restricted to the wealthy who could take holidays in the Alps. There were three public sessions daily with an entrance charge of 2/6 for adults, with half price for children under 16.
  • In the months following the opening there were many events at the Rink, including carnivals, ice hockey internationals and the NSA 1-mile Amateur British Racing Championships.
  • Prominent in the exhibitions was Mr Phil Taylor, speed skater, stilt-skater, barrel jumper and showman. He taught his daugher, Megan Taylor, who went on to become World Champion in 1938.
  • Three of the current international compulsory dances - the Viennese Waltz, Blues and Rocker Foxtrot - had their first performance at Streatham in 1934.
  • In 1935 the film "Car of Dreams" starring John Mills was partially filmed at the Rink.
  • This Pathe newsreel from 1937 shows former Thames Punting Champion Harry Higginson punting over the ice at Streatham. Punting on ice
  • All the English rinks closed soon after the outbreak of World War II. Streatham was requisitioned for food storage and remained closed until 1946.
  • In 1951 the ice surface was reduced to make room for 800 extra seats.
  • Jeanette Altwegg, Olympic figure skating champion, trained at Streatham for 5 years in the 1950s.
  • In 1962 the rink was taken over by Mecca, who spend £100,000 on improvements and opened it as the fourth Silver Blades Rink.
  • Jacqueline Harbord, twice World Professional Ladies Champion (1963-4) trained at Streatham.
  • Diane Towler and Bernard Ford trained part-time at Streatham, on their way to becoming four times World Ice Dance Champions (1966-69). Diane Towler MBE is now senior coach at Streatham.
  • In 1967 two penguins from Chessington Zoo paid a visit. There is a mute film clip at Penguin clip
  • In 1979 the rink closed after ice-making machinery broke down. There was a local campaign to save the rink. It re-opened in 1980 after £1m repairs and refurbishment.
  • In 1990 the rink was sold to Laws Estates.
  • In 2001 Tesco bought the site and the long saga over the redevelopment began.
  • In the 2004 British Championships, 4 Streatham-based couples competed and did very well. In the Seniors Pippa Towler-Green and Philip Poole won the bronze medal, with Candice Towler-Green and James Phillipson finishing 4th . In the Juniors Emma Murphy and Harry Souter won Bronze, and Talia Barrington and Darren Powell came 4th.
  • In the 2005 British Championships, Pippa Towler-Green and Phillip Poole won the Senior Ice Dance silver medal, earning the right to compete in the 2006 European Championships. For the 2006/7 season they acheived the same placing, earning their place in the 2007 European Championships in Warsaw.
  • On Saturday 26th February 2011 the rink reached the 80th anniversary of its opening.
  • The original Streatham rink closed on 18th December 2011 with a closing Gala and "End of Era" hockey match. The temporary Brixton rink opened the following day, 19th December 2011. The new Streatham Ice Rink and Leisure Centre is expected to open at the end of 2013.

Page last updated: 18th February 2012