Photos and text by Philip Procter
Video edit by Alan Christensen
East London has always been a bit light on skateparks and almost a decade in the making, Mile End finally gets it due. The park is an all cement, marble smooth creation, courtesy of a fantastic design and build by the boys at Gravity. The emphasis is on pushing skaters to be more creative with some slightly different, and updated takes on world famous skatespots.
There is a wedge block not too dissimilar to the black marble banks/block combo in Barca and will definitely be a major hit at the park. The rest of the street section flows well and is mainly block based with a few rails, not quite sure why there is a small rainbow rail blocking off one of the smaller blocks, but I guess someone asked for it?!
The bowl follows suit with the rest of the parks challenging feel, once you drop in there is no stopping! It starts around 4 feet deep and rolls down to the deep end of around 8 feet at its deepest. The bowl connects straight back in to the street course leaving a few options of gaps in and out of the bowl. I cant see too many skaters getting tricks in there straight away, but I’m sure once the locals get a handle on the hectic nature of it, they will rule all the mellower skate spots.
Linking all the lines of the park together in the corner of the park is a 4 feet high flatbank bank, with Koston block on the top. Plenty of room here for drifting ollies and flips too – the angles are perfect, and the block waxy. One of the other more video influenced obstacles is the toblerone block/bank – tight bank with a short platform just like you’ve seen in all the Cliché videos. Adjoining this is a tight 2.5 ft deep dish making it a bit of a gap to slide over, that has attracted many locals to start working lines from bowl to bank and vice-versa and opening my eyes to a few lines that aren’t immediately apparent. It’s a great idea and also a challenge which most parks need.
The vibe of the park is different to a lot of other skateparks, there isn’t really one point of focus, so people are spread out and it feels more like a street spot than a planned park. I think there are an awful lot of skaters from East London who simply haven’t met each other yet, and this park will serve to bring that side of London together.
On the whole, the park’s a pretty good use of the space, certainly something for everyone in there. Adjoining the park are a couple of large brick arches, naturally home to graffiti, but it would be nice to think that they would house a mini ramp at somepoint, as it’s all that’s really missing here. Could you imagine a mini in one of them and a stage in the other? Mmmmn.
Finding the park is pretty simple, turn left out of Mile End tube station and turn left on to Burdette Road and take a nice walk through the park (littered with skate spots itself) and pass the stadium and cut between the footie pitches and it’s next to the Go Kart tracks on St Paul’s Way – enjoy!
This edit by Alan Christensen features skating from Ken James, John Tanner, Simon Skipp, Nigel Davies, Harrison, 2P, Laurie Sherman and James Gardner.