Although good ledge spots are hardly synonymous with British skateboarding, it’s a surprising reality that they were missing from even the country’s capital until the turn of the millennium. Such was the landscape of London until, in the late 1990s, heaven was discovered in an unassuming patch of greenery just down the road from Victoria Station. Jacob Sawyer’s wonderful “Ode To Victoria Benches” story for Slam City Skates pinpoints the spot as having been discovered somewhere around 1997. The Blueprint Skateboards team and friends would go on to localize it, with the benches appearing in Waiting For The World, Headcleaner, and First Broadcast.
Aside from the mystery of what the benches were made of, one of the most intriguing aspects of the their history is their function as a nexus point. As Sawyer succinctly puts it: “Victoria Benches became Toby Shuall’s spiritual home, a focal point for Nick Jensen’s progression and the place Lucien Clarke learned to skate” — and would revive from a period of forced hibernation in the spot’s waning days leading up to Palace’s Palasonic video.
Here’s the story of Victoria Benches as told by their prodigal son, Lucien Clarke, with his mentors and the spot’s forefathers included for posterity.
Intro, Interviews & Edit by Farran Golding. VHS footage courtesy of Palace Skateboards • Filmed by Jack Brooks, Mike Fox, Adam Todhunter & Austin Bristow. Archival footage courtesy of Dan Magee. Supported by DC Skateboarding.
Previous Favorite Spots: Cyrus Bennett on The Sombrero, Andrew Allen on L.A. High, Max Palmer on the Canal Fountain, Dick Rizzo on Grants Tomb, Anthony Van Engelen on the Green Bench, Hjalte Halberg on Jarmers, Gilbert Crockett on Sun Trust & Downtown Richmond
Related: An Interview With Lucien Clarke (December 2017)