Palace Ice Rink 1946
Silver Blades Ice Rink 1976
The Palace Ice Rink opened in 1931 in a site on Prescot Road, in Kensington, next door to the Casino cinema (shown in the photograph below). The building had originally opened as a roller skating rink but had reopened as an ice rink some three years later – changing its name to Silver Blades in the 1960s.
Much loved by generations of children and adults alike, it finally closed in 1986, when it became financially unviable (because of the cost of upgrading facilities). How ironic that when £10 billion can be spent in London on a four week Olympic jamboree – the sporting facilities that are needed across the country by all generations to keep fit and tackle obesity are being savagely cut by virtually every local authority. Silver Blades is one early example of this short-changing of our children. When the company went cap in hand to Liverpool Council for financial help, it was turned down. Now the nearest ice rink is Deeside – completely out of range for most local people.
I only went once to Silver Blades in a well-meaning but disastrous gesture to a form of pupils I was teaching for a term at Archbishop Whiteside School on Silvester Street, off Scotland Road. (I use the term form of pupils advisedly – I am not sure what kind of form they took but it wasn’t quite what I was used to). They pupils were all part of the great ROSLA experiment (raising of the school leaving age) which had pushed up the leaving age from 15 to 16 the term before I started.
Feeling sorry for their predicament – they were bored and rebellious – I decided, against the advice of every permanent teacher, to take them on an outing to the ice rink. The place was tranquil as we entered – with a group of girls from a private school skating gracefully round the rink. Within minutes – mayhem! Like a scene from the Bash Street Kids, my bunch of micreants managed to start the ice polishing machine – which was picking up speed as it pursued the terrified girls. I am sure we weren’t the only school to be thrown out of the rink – but 15 minutes must have been some kind of record. Fortunately for generations of school children to come, I decided that teaching was not for me and I left a few weeks later to pursue a more suitable career.
Sadly, the ice rink and cinema have now both been demolished (in 2001).