So the news that Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is considering giving a skatepark listed building status because of its “special architectural and historic importance”, may make some people start to feel a little bit old. What once seemed like a most modern craze now has a considerable past, and one that may well be worth preserving.
Livington Skatepark was built in 1981 and is, by all accounts, a particularly good one. It developed an international reputation that saw US star Tony Hawk and other leading exponents come to try it out. Once the archetypal ‘skaterboy', Hawk, aka Birdman, is now 54 with flecks of grey in his hair. And while skateboarding was previously associated with a counter-culture scene, it is now an Olympic discipline, an established sport as well as a pastime.
HES is asking for people’s views about Livi Skatepark’s cultural significance and its “position among our 20th-century heritage” as it considers whether to confer listing-building status to a structure that some may have regarded as a concrete carbuncle when it was first built.
However, whatever your views on its architectural merits, skateboarding is an energetic activity that requires considerable skill, as those who have dabbled, with unfortunate consequences, will attest. As such, it is something to be celebrated in an age when increasingly sedentary lifestyles are a major health issue. Formal recognition of the sport’s most cherished venues may be one way to do that.
And who knows, it might even encourage ageing skatergirls and boys to strap on some padding and get back out there.