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Britain's 'best skatepark' listed

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The Rom in Hornchurch, east London, has become the first skatepark in Europe to be listed

Described by English Heritage as ‘one of the most elaborate and complete examples of a purpose built skatepark’, the Rom has been given Grade-II listed status.

Opened in 1978 at the height of the skateboarding boom, the seamless shotcrete park designed by Adrian Rolt and G-Force is closely based on Californian skateparks.

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The Rom becomes only the second skatepark in the world to be given protective status after the Bro Bowl in Tampa, Florida, was added to the USA’s National Register of Historic Places last year.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s decision to list the building is based on research for new publication Played in London by Sports Historian, Simon Inglis.

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Heritage Minister, Ed Vaizey, said: ‘the Rom was built in the late seventies for the very first skateboarders and is as popular now as it was then. Its listing at Grade-II is testament to its design and also highlights how the UK’s unique heritage reflects all parts of our culture and history.

‘I hope the protection provided by this listing ensures the pool, moguls and snake run can be enjoyed for years to come.’

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Iain Borden, Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

‘It’s fantastic that the Rom has been listed. It’s undoubtedly the best skatepark ever built in Britain and we are extremely lucky that it is one of the only parks that survives.

‘A skatepark is such an extraordinary building type, a modulated landscape, like nothing on earth.

‘The Rom is an elaborate piece of architecture - if you had asked Corbusier to design a sculptural landscape, this is something he could have built.’

Skateboard! Nov 1978

Skateboard supertest - the Rom. From Skateboard! Nov 1978

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