Scotland's oldest skatepark dubbed 'legendary' by Tony Hawk protected

The earliest surviving purpose-built skatepark in Scotland is now a category B listed structure.

Scotland’s oldest surviving skatepark dubbed “legendary” during a visit by Tony Hawk has been given protected status.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has designated Livingston “Livi” Skatepark as a category B listed structure.

The skatepark opened in 1981 and achieved international renown within the skate scene from its earliest days due to its “scale, ambition and quality”.

Known for its deep double bowl and finely-tuned transitions, the skatepark is the earliest surviving purpose-built skatepark in Scotland.

Tony Hawk at 18 years old in his back yard on one of the ramps he built for his friends and himself.Getty Images

The designation means that it’s future will be protected for future generations of skaters across Scotland.

Dara Parsons, head of designations at Historic Environment Scotland, recalled the time skateboarding icon Tony Hawk visited in 1991.

“He described it as ‘a legendary place’, and it is clear that this remains a highly valued creative and social space for the community of Livingston and the skating and biking community”, they said.

Hawk later told the People’s History Show that while he was a “typical sort of oblivious American” he knew about the skatepark.

“I think that was one of my geography lessons as a kid. It was super challenging, and it was the kind of thing where if we were prima donnas to be like, ‘I’m not skating this, it’s too tricky’, whatever, but I knew the folklore of Livingston and the legendary status, and I was up for it. I mean, I was going to skate it regardless of how difficult it was,” Hawk said.

Livingston Skate Park.HES

Skateboarding became very popular in Scotland during the late 1970s, which prompted skateboarder, Kenny Omond, to approach Livingston Development Corporation with the idea for a skatepark.

Architect Iain Urquhart designed the skatepark after extensive study of US skateparks and conversations with skateboarders.

As a result, the skatepark has been described as an “authentic reflection of the skate culture of the 1970-1980s”.

Livingston Skate Park.HES

Parsons added that listing Scotland’s oldest skatepark helps demonstrate the “variety” of Scotland’s historic environment as well as “the important role the built environment of the late 20th century structure has in telling Scotland’s story.”

Rick Curran, secretary at Skateboard Scotland, said: “Skateboard Scotland are pleased to hear that Livingston skatepark is to be designated a listed structure, this designation will help ensure it retains the essence that makes it a famously strong foundation for Scottish skateboarding.

“Livi is a beloved, world-renowned skatepark recognised by many for its ground-breaking design, but at 43 years old it is showing considerable signs of age, so we are extremely keen to see the necessary steps taken to ensure this essence is protected for future generations through sympathetic, considered stabilisation and restoration.”

Lawrence Fitzpatrick, leader of West Lothian Council, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Livingston Skate Park has been granted B listed status.

“Thanks to everyone in the local and skating communities who showed their support for the unique facility during the consultation process.

“As the custodians of Livingston Skate Park, we are well aware of the importance of the park, and adding it to the list of Scotland’s significant structures will help ensure it is protected for future generations.”

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