ROM SKATEPARK GIVEN PROTECTED HERITAGE STATUS – FIRST IN EUROPE!
The icon of the 1970s British skateboard scene, Romford Skatepark in Hornchurch has been Grade II listed!
It is the FIRST skatepark in Europe to be given such status, and the SECOND in the entire World.
One of the most elaborate and complete examples of a purpose built skatepark has been listed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of English Heritage. Built in Hornchurch in 1978 by Adrian Rolt and G-Force, the leading skatepark designers of the period, ‘the Rom’ is the best example of a small number of skateparks that still survive from the early heyday of the skateboarding boom in the UK.
This is the first time a skatepark has been listed anywhere in Europe, and the second skatepark to be listed in the world, the first being “Bro Bowl” in Tampa, Florida, added to the USA’s National Register of Historic Places in October 2013.
Heritage Minister, Ed Vaizey, said: “The Rom was built in the late seventies for the very first skateboarders and is as popular now as it was then. Its listing at Grade II is testament to its design and also highlights how the UK’s unique heritage reflects all parts of our culture and history. I hope the protection provided by this listing ensures the pool, moguls and snake run can be enjoyed for years to come.”
Roger Bowdler, Designation Director at English Heritage, said: “Skateboarding is more than a sport: it has become a world-wide cult. The Rom is the finest example in England to this aspect of youth culture, and we are delighted its special interest will be protected for future generations through listing. It gives the whole idea of heritage an extra twist.”
The Rom is the product of a skateboarding craze that swept Britain in the 1970s. As skateboarding fever gripped the nation a rash of skateparks were built, but later demolished as popularity declined. The Rom is a rare survivor of this period and has been one of the most influential sites in British skateboarding culture ever since.
The Rom opened in August 1978. Designed by Adrian Rolt of G-force, the park is made up of seamless shotcrete (pressurised concrete) closely based on Californian skateparks. These in turn were based on the various urban spaces colonised by pioneer skaters, including the oval and kidney-shaped swimming pools of the Los Angeles elite and the vast concrete spillways and drainage features of the Californian coast. These structures influenced the design of the early purpose-built skateparks, built in ever-increasing numbers during the worldwide skateboarding craze of the mid-1970s.
For an idea on scale, check out this google maps birds eye view of Rom in all its glory!