London had Meanwhile Gardens meanwhile we had Hyson Green. In the middle of the flats from hell (now an Asda store) were three concrete bowls of varying diameter and depth. Now if these bowls weren't designed to skated then what were they for! Surrounded on all four sides by tall concrete flats with walkways they gave the feeling of being on a stage. Most residents welcomed the skaters as non threatening addition whose presence helped keep crime down. On winter evenings a car was parked near the bowls to light them.
Added excitement was given by the fact that at anytime an object could be thrown at you from the above walkways, bottles were favourite followed by tacks and air pellets. Other objects included a TV, people, and allegedly even a dog. But hey, the bowls were a great place to skate and it's not like we were spoilt for choice back then. Chips and cans of Fanta were all we needed for a Saturdays skate, things were simple. The skate photos shown below are from the mid 80's after its heyday.
Built in 1965 the flats were demolished, apart from a tower block, in 1987 and is currently the site of an Asda supermarket. Even until this day, like Broadmarsh banks, no one knows quite what the idea was behind the bowls, as a play area they were unusual to say the least.
Read more about Hyson Green flats and view the video below.
Hyson Green Bowls Facebook group.
A photo of the the bowls in their heyday with pipes. In foreground is what we called the 'deep bowl' not easy to ride because of the bricks, back left the 'medium bowl' which was great for follow my leader circuits, and right what the best transitioning bowl the 'shallow bowl' perfect for sweeping carves.
Chris Metcalf from underground magazine 'Surf' summer '77. Photos and text Tony Wayman.
Fibreflex, Road Rider 2's and Tracker fultracks carving the bowls. Looking at these photos inspired us to seek out the bowls and ride them for ourselves.
A Video made about the flats during the time we first skated them.