Webpage created: May 12, 2020
Webpage updated: May 12, 2020
WESTWELL STREET ROLLER SKATING RINK
The construction of the skating rink in Westwell Street was progressing well in 1876. The contractor was Mr Isaac Foot and the masonry builder was a Mr Partridge. The back wall, which was 165 feet in length, was arched and supported on columns. One of the columns had not been supplied but the decision was taken to proceed with the masonry so as not to delay matters.
Shortly before 4pm on the afternoon of Thursday August 31st 1876, the workmen struck away a wooden "centre" or support to an arch and a few minutes afterwards the whole wall was seen to waver. The men working near the middle ran along the scaffolding towards the end to get out of the way. Some of them succeeded but seventy feet of the wall fell with a crash and carried three men down with it.
They were speedily rescued and taken to the hospital. Only one man, named Hawkings, was sufficiently injured to be detained.
The local press gleefully reported that: 'The accident was popularly -- but, it is stated, erroneously -- attributed to the boisterous wind.'
Although the rink was open in 1878 it appears to have closed by 1890.