The streets of Nottingham are drenched in UK skateboarding lore. It has been home to some of the most legendary spots in the country - Broadmarsh Banks and Market Square, to name but two examples - and has helped produce a wealth of skateboarding talent from the 1980s right up to the present day.
Lovenskate pro Alex Hallford is one such gifted human who has been raised in this bustling Midlands municipality, so we decided to throw the Locality reigns in his direction this week, in order for him to take you on a guided saunter around his hometown.
Read on below, and be sure to explore the clips, photos, and links embedded within...
Alex Hallford by Chris Johnson.
Best skate spot - back in the day:
Broadmarsh Banks, hands down. It was epic; my mind was blown seeing this spot when I was about 10 years old. There were curvy humps everywhere. Hopefully something fun is soon to be built on the old site of the banks; we are going to have to wait and see.
Broadmarsh Banks jam 1995 (and Market Square with Ricky Oyola) taken from Rollernsakes Videolog 5 (1995).
Best skate spot - present day:
Sneinton Market is a great spot for both hammers and chillin’. There is pretty much always guaranteed to be someone skating there on a dry day. It has stairs, ledges, and a flatground playground, and there are lines for days and days.
FortyTwo now holds the torch for Nottingham, and does so much for the local skate scene. Big love to Rob (Johnson) and Scotty (Underdown)! Also, thanks to Robin (Waite) and Nonstop for keeping me rolling when I was a kid. Every city needs a FortyTwo or a Nonstop. Supporting your local skate shop and all local businesses is a must!
Best local video:
The best Nottingham video for me has to be Neil Turner’s Olde Trip. It is a great video documenting the Nottingham skate scene and the awesome skating taking place in the city. Everybody kills it, and it is well worth a watch. Mucho love to Nelly and the boys; amazing work!
Olde Trip by Neil Turner (2018)
Best local video part:
My favourite video part from a Nottingham skater is Will Golding in Get Lesta's What’s Cooking? Hats off to Will and Callun (Loomes). Savage filming and skating.
Will Golding's What's Cooking: G-Sides from Get Lesta (2012).
Best skate photo shot in Nottingham:
A Nottingham photo that has always stuck in my mind is a Wig Worland photo of Alan Rushbrooke popping a huge melon over one of the Broadmarsh Banks. He was flying so high above the sketchy bricks; it has forever stuck in my mind.
Best local - back in the day:
That’s got to be Gaz Genkins or Craig Smedley. I only saw Gaz skate a couple times back in the day, but he was mental, and of course Nottingham is rife with Gaz folklore. Smed, on the other hand, will never stop and is still killing it to this day. Respect Smed; I hope we are all still skating that dope in years to come.
Gaz Jenkins in Focal Point by Ian Passmore (2001)
Best local - present day:
That has to be Luke Humphries for me. Luke has the opening part in Neil's Olde Trip video, and it did not disappoint. Luke is savage and great to watch; he opens Olde Trip brilliantly.
The best outdoor skatepark for me has to be the new Radcliffe park, built by Canvas. It is transition heavy, and like nothing else in the UK, to be honest. It is unique and compliments Nottingham's extensive résumé of outdoor skateparks perfectly. In Nottingham, we also have our charity and community run indoor skatepark, Flo. It is a blessing to have a local indoor skatepark, and we are very grateful to all involved who are keeping it running. Between FortyTwo, Skate Nottingham and Flo, the skateboarders of the city have all of the facilities and platforms they need to be heard.
Alex Hallford and Nick Hansen at Radcliffe Skatepark.
In my opinion, the best pub is The King Billy in Sneinton. It is close to the market and is a lovely pub for a quick half, or jamming all day and night. Expect to meet all manner of great local people. It has great local beers, a pool table, and a beer balcony. They also serve pizza upstairs made from delicious local ingredients. The next time you’re about in Nottingham, its well worth poppin’ in.
There are so many to choose from, but to name a few: Annie’s Burger Shack, Pizza Italia, Zara Grill, Flavours of Hockley for breakfast and/or lunch, Doughnotts, Robin Hood Jackets...the list goes on. To be honest, the city centre is pretty much a food court these days.
Best local band:
My favourite local band has to be Unknown Era. They are a dope ska band, and have never failed to get a crowd moving at a gig.
Best local slang phrase:
“Eyup duck”, or “Eyup me duck”, both of which translate to “hello”. Classic.
Best local celebrity:
Whycliffe (Donovan Whycliffe Bromwell) is a local legend roaming the streets of Nottingham. Rumour has it he dated Dannii Minogue back in the day, but if you go street skating in the centre, he might say hello and offer to sing you a song.
Alex "getting blood from a stone" - wallride method. Photo: Andy Horsley
Best local point of interest/tourist must see:
The caves under the city are mental if you know the ways in. Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem opened in 1189 and claims to be the oldest pub in England; the building is cut into the sandstone cliffs beneath the castle. We have a cool windmill, and The Contemporary Art Museum hosts some great exhibitions…but more importantly, the skateparks and street spots are a must see. Lady Bay, Clifton, Radcliffe, Standhill, Long Eaton, Flo, and Valley Road to name some of the parks. Sneinton Market, the Amphitheatre, Market Square, and Trinity Square, to name some street spots.
Best thing about living in Nottingham:
The people and the skating are the best things about Nottingham. We have lots of lovely places to skate, and lots of lovely people to skate them with. A small city the size of Nottingham allows you connect with everyone around you like you would in a town, but while having that broader diversity of people to connect with that would find in a city. It is a lovely sized city, but most of all, the creative people and the communities here make Nottingham the place that it is. The people make it.