Roller skating in the late 1950s

Peter Pan's Playground in 2007
©Tony Mould:images copyright protected

One size fits all

At the end of the 1950’s, my sister took me roller skating, at Peter Pan’s Playground, via the Volk’s railway. You paid your money and were given a pair of ‘one size fits all’ roller skates, adjusted, underneath, to fit your particular foot size You fitted these skates on, over your shoes. As a child the rink seemed to me to be a huge place. Around the edge, at the bottom, was a series of planks, into which you banged when you wanted to stop; there was also a handrail. As an eight or nine year old, I clung on both to the rail and to my sister.

Do you remember skating at Peter Pan’s? Share your memories by posting below.

Just one visit

I only went there once. As soon as my sister had let go of my hand, I fell and hit my head, hard, on the plank around the edge. I went home, feeling disappointed and, unknown to me at the time, with an egg shaped bruise on my forehead. It must have looked bad as my mother hugged me and cried when she saw it. As is usually the way with these things, I recovered quickly but never wanted to go near the roller rink again.

Can you help?

Unfortunately we do not have any old photographs of Peter Pan’s Playground. Does anyone have any old shots. Maybe when you went there as a child? If you can help mail me?

Comments about this page

  • Reading the story from Philip Burnard takes me right back to my childhood. I was an avid roller skater in the late 40s and early 50s. My first skates were (noisy) metal wheeled skates bought for Xmas by my mum and dad. I learned to skate with these, up and down Bennett Road where I lived. It must have driven the neighbours crazy. I mastered skating after a few tumbles. For a later birthday I was bought  a pair of rubber wheeled skates where I really learned to skate and they were so smooth and quiet. I could be down town to the library in Church Street in no time. On Sundays I loved skating to the Blue Angel where there was a large paved area just right for zooming around backwards or forwards. The Peter Pan’s skating rink was a joy. Initially I was a bit peeved at not being able to us my own (rubber) skates but the surface of the rink would have been marked. If you got a good pair of skates it was real fun just whizzing around on that smooth floor. Sometimes there would be a long line of skaters holding hand and going for it. Pity you if you were the one on the end to be whipped into the fence, but as Philip said the toe boards  took most of the impact if you were on the ball. If I remember right there was always a Canadian who played ice hockey for Brighton Tigers running the rink. I saw a photo of the Peter Pan’s rink a couple of months ago somewhere.


    By Mick Peirson (02/07/2015)
  • There is a great youtube short film by Pathe all along the beach front in the 50s. It includes people roller skating in PP’s playground as well as Blackrock Lido and many other great beach sights and activities. Well worth a look. The URL is

    By Eric Cook (09/07/2015)
  • I was a skater in the 50’s about 6 and 7 years old, at Peter Pans with my little partner Butch, we had quite an audience, in fact I started to get fan mail and one particular fan was a nun! she sent so many letters that my mother would read to me, I loved those days and Brighton was such a wonderful place to live for a child..

    By lindsay Ziehl MBE (26/10/2017)

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