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Skating story rolled back the years for me.

READING the article in the Mercury about roller rinks brought the memories flooding back of my younger years, particularly about the rink I used to frequent, the Embassy Sportsdrome in Walford Road, Sparkbrook.

I went there when I was about 10 or 12 years-old in short trousers and wellies. It cost about one and a tanner to go in.

There were rows of attendants lined up on seats waiting to fit your skates for threepence. The type of skates used had a claw like fitting at the front which had to be tightened up with a key and sometimes as you went round the skates would rip the bottoms of your wellies.

I remember the manager's name was Conrad Davies, a little man with a big cigar and wavy hair.

The things we got up to when on the rink were dangerous but a laugh at the time.

We used to go round anti-clockwise until half-time when it changed to the other direction and it was hard to control on corners.

Later skates were changed for a different type called 'toast rack fronts' which resembled a lace-up boot - a bit better than the claw type until I made my own set of skates, getting alloy plates and new wheels, bearings, cones and boxing boots. I thought I was the 'bee's knees.'.

Back on the rink, if they forgot to put the French chalk down you would all go down to the toilets and flood them to get water on the floor to help you get traction.

If my memory serves me correct, they had a speed team and they also used to have boxing and wrestling matches which I and some of my mates used to watch around the corner through the gaps in the wooden doors in Conway Road.

D Twiss, Solihull

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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jan 25, 2015
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