In 1855 Edward Woodward was landlord of the Flower Pot public house in Spon Lane. Reportedly a very small man at only about 4’10” in height and weighing 8 stone, he was an accomplished ice skater and in winter would display his prowess on local pools. He was also a pioneer of roller skating and in 1866 patented a skate that had five small rubber wheels fixed in a line. This type of skate was called a parlour or floor skate. As an expert user he gave public exhibitions and opened a room at the rear of the Flower Pot to give lessons. Although an ingenious invention, it was not a success due to the rubber wheels wearing out so quickly.
Interest in roller skating continued in West Bromwich with at least two rinks in use. In 1909 the rink in Paradise Street was advertised as the largest in the Midlands. The premises were later used mainly for boxing and burnt down in 1930.
In 1939 the New Palais Rink in New Street was promoting exhibitions of freestyle and acrobatic skating on their “marvellous maple floor”. The premises were sold in 1943 and after the second world war became better known as The Adephi Ballroom which, in its heyday, attracted top bands and pop groups to perform there. The building burnt down in 1971.
Thank you to Robert Griffin who sent us this image of his enamel badge for the West Bromwich Skating Club. The reverse shows the badge was made by Fattorini & Sons of Birmingham.
If you have any information you would like to share regarding this badge and the Skating Club please let us know.