A skatepark dating back to the sport’s 1970s peak has become a protected heritage site.
With its half-pipe, moguls and special skating pool, the Rom skatepark in Hornchurch, east London, is a far cry from the majority of listed buildings.But as only the second in the world to achieve listed status, heritage bosses said the elaborate 1978 concrete construction was an important example of youth culture in the UK.
It has been granted Grade II status, meaning it is nationally important and of special interest, by the Department for Culture Media and Sport on the advice of English Heritage. Ed Vaizey, the heritage minister, said: “The Rom was built in the late 1970s. Its listing … is testament to its design and highlights how the UK’s unique heritage reflects all parts of our culture and history.”
Built and designed by Adrian Rolt and G-Force, the leading skatepark designers of the period, the Rom follows the Bro Bowl in Tampa, Florida, in achieving listed status. The Tampa park was added to the US’s National Register of Historic Places in October last year.
Roger Bowdler of English Heritage said: “The Rom is the finest example in England to this aspect of youth culture … It gives the whole idea of heritage an extra twist.”
The Rom, which occupies 8,000 square metres, was among a rash of skateparks built as the craze swept Britain. Many were later demolished. Made from seamless, pressurised concrete, the Rom is closely based on Californian skateparks.
These were themselves inspired by the urban spaces of Los Angeles, and echoed the contours of the oval and kidney-shaped swimming pools which were common to southern California.