You are here: Home » Issue 67 September 1988 » How Livingston Happened — footnote on the early history of the skatepark

Rocker, Iain Urquhart and LivingstonBother! I wish I had the text for this page on a disk. Oh well, here goes. The part of this which I want to get on line is the side-bar about Iain Urquhart. He was one of my skateboarding heroes, as you can tell:

How Livingston Happened

So you think you’ve got problems getting a half-pipe built now? Imagine convincing the council that they should build a proper concrete skatepark. And now think about doing that in 1981, when skating was (as far as the general public was concerned) ‘dead’.

But that’s exactly what happened. As a result Livingston ended up with a facility which is the envy of the rest of the country and which has been sessioned heavily on wheels of one kind or another ever since. In fact it’s now sometimes too busy to skate.

The driving force behind this was Iain Urquhart, an architect who worked on leisure facilities for the Livingston Development Corporation and who was fully into skating. It took him years to convince them to build the park. During that time he visited as many other parks as possible, learning from all the other mistakes and taking advice from everyone who skated them. He fine-tuned the design of his park right up until the last minute (the flat bottom in the bowl was a late addition).

Think about it: if he could do that at a time when skating was so small, imagine what someone with as much drive could do now. That someone could be you. But there’s another lesson to be learned too: if he hadn’t been prepared to get down into the setting concrete and fight for the surface he knew was so important, Iain Urquhart might have seen his dream realised as another kinked-out waste of money.

Your involvement mustn’t stop with the plans, it mustn’t stop when you’ve got the money and the go-ahead: you’ve got to see the whole thing through or someone along the line will mess it up. That kind of dedication is rare: so far the skate scene has seen only one such individual. He died a year or so after completing the park — but what a memorial we’ve got.

I’m pleased to have added that to the digital record, even if I did have to type it again. Perhaps I’d better have another go at scanning the rest of the story.

On another strange note: years later, in another life, but in the same small world, a friend of my wife revealed “I was in Rad magazine once…” and we dug out the issue and there he is, with another friend who I also now know, standing next to Jeremy Fox. Two young skaters enjoying their big day out at Livingston. All of us part of an interwoven strand of events, pulled together in this case by the legacy of Livingston skatepark. And on this particular occasion by the huge and continuing efforts of Kenny and Eleanor Omond, whose huge role in Livingston’s history was not really made clear enough in this piece. I regret that.

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