It is amazing to think that the Wednesday night street skates of London are entering their tenth year! Back in the year 2000 a group of Albert Memorial street hockey players visiting Paris one Friday stumbled across the PariRoller in all its thousands and thought ‘we’re having some of that’. And so the ‘Betty Blade’ was born, with Sweaty Betty as sponsors.
Back then there were never more than around 50 people, and routes were about six miles long. The first skate was to Buckingham palace and back and its still unknown how we got away with it but the entire skates were often run totally on pavements, embankments and cycle paths for that first year. And of course there was always the obligatory half time pub stop.
Due to its popularity and success the skate grew in numbers and in 2001 for pedestrians sanity the skate moved onto the roads, became more organised and re-branded to ‘LondonSkate’. 2001 also saw its first Superhero fancy dress skate. Salomon entered the street skate market and teamed up with Sweaty Betty to become the sponsors of LondonSkate.
The second skate of the 2002 season saw 800 punters skate to to Spitalfields for a launch party with live bands. The skate was so huge it filled Piccadilly and managed to drag along some revellers on foot who heard a rumour of ‘free beer’ after seeing the Corona beer bus wheeling along. The party was a massive success and funds were raised through sales of the ‘Free Sexy Fun’ LondonSkate T-shirts, and Salomon brought along their European Freeride team. 2002 and 2003 saw music provided to the skate by a friendly push bike and its sound system, and free skate lessons were given to beginners by Skatefresh every Wednesday eve. 2003 was the year that Salomon hosted the Bladercross party and again entertained us with their Freeride team.
The launch party of 2004 was made bigger and better by the Marshals deciding that the few pairs of donated skates should instead be given as prizes in a fundraising raffle. The season started with a one way street skate which ended at Canvas in Kings Cross with two rooms being packed out by a Rollerdisco, live music and DJ’s spinning the decks. 2004 saw the introduction of the orange Marshal T-shirts, and the ‘Linda really wished she’d skated on the left’ design T-shirts were sold to raise more funds. Free skate lessons with Skatefresh continued and this was also the year of the Chav fancy dress skate, when there was much skate bling!
In 2005 LondonSkate decided that rather than having a one off launch event we wanted to pool all our resources to make every week a party. This saw the arrival of the hand built BassFreight sound system which brought skater tunes to the streets of London every Wednesday night. Funds were again raised by sales of T-shirts, this year the booted Eros design, and the Marshals kept on wearing the popular orange T-shirts. Once again free beginner skate lessons were provided each week by Skatefresh. The success of 2005 ended with the first public LondonSantaSkate to raise more funds and we saw up to 200 skaters dressed in Santa Costumes spreading Christmas cheer around London and ended in a massive party with DJs in the Victoria Pub.
In 2006 the sound system was upgraded and the ASBOx I and II were born, saturating the LondonSkate with wireless radio linked sound. Free skate lessons for beginners were given by Skate Patrol every Wednesday eve and this years T-shirts saw the simplified winged skate design raising funds. The Santa Skate of 2006 saw not only reindeers and Santa’s on skates but also the BassFreight, ASBOx’s I, II and III (the newly built Bass Invader), Thumpers I and II and LFNS sound systems team up to spread the spirit of Santa across the capital for what was an even bigger event and party than 2005.
2007 carried on with the huge LondonSkate sound system keeping the party vibe going. T shirts again used the winged skate design and this year saw the introduction of LondonSkate hoodies. The AQA skate raised funds and also provided free T-shirts, visors and bags to all those who came out to play. The Santa Skate at the end of 2007 was the biggest yet, not only did it again combine all the LondonSkate, LFNS and Thumper sound systems of 2006 but saw up to 500 skaters dressed as reindeers, Santa’s, elves, snowmen and even a Christmas tree take to the streets of London. To thank the LFNS for their support, LondonSkate donated 30% of all the Santa Skate proceeds to the LFNS.
We launched the 2008 season with our new website, better equipment for the Marshals and an upgraded LOUDER, BIGGER, FATTER BassFreight. We had another successful year and although the British weather tried its hardest we managed to hold our annual LondonSantaSkate, with our most outstanding LondonSantaSkate party yet the night before. To thank the LFNS for their support LondonSkate have donated 30% of all the Santa Skate proceeds to the LFNS in 2007 and in 2008.
2009 brings us the tenth year of Wednesday night skates in London, and the ninth season for the LondonSkate brand so we want it to be bigger and better! We have some fun surprises lined up for all who want to join in the summer madness, faces old and new are always welcome. So don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list and also join our Facebook group, because the streets are calling!.