Favorite Spot with Dom Henry on Fairfield Halls

🔑 Intro, Interview & Edit by Farran Golding
📷 Headline Photo by Wig Worland
🐐 Special Introduction by Paul Shier

Until now, the Favorite Spot series has consulted with those whose prolific outputs have positioned them as the de-facto skateboarders for spots. Our second U.K. edition is the first to somewhat stray from that formula.

After moving to London in 2017, Dom Henry began skating Croydon’s Fairfield Halls — carrying a reverence for Paul Shier’s earlier footage that had stuck with him ever since watching Blueprint’s Waiting For The World as a teenager.

Dom insists he has no claim to Fairfield and that the spot belongs to Shier and the Croydon scene who first localized it. However, in traversing a minefield of cracked flags and taking his breakneck tech to those chewed ledges almost two decades later, Dom’s enthusiasm for Fairfield would give the place a fitting send off and innocently position him as a key part of its folklore.

I reached out the Shier while working on this installment, curious as to what flipping the script might return. He enthusiastically shared his account of seeing Dom’s shared love for Fairfield while walking through the spot’s timeline from when he left off, and explained how we arrived with the markedly worse state Dom found Fairfield in.

Paul Shier at Fairfield Halls, 1996. Scan courtesy of Slam City Skates, photographer unknown.

Paul Shier on Dom Henry & Fairfield Halls

When Fairfield appeared in Palasonic, I was hyped. At that time, I never thought it would actually get demolished. Then came all the footage of Dom afterwards and it got me so stoked. It made me want to go back to England to skate Fairfield again, which I was unable to do for one reason or another. I have huge respect to Dom for skating it in that condition. That ground was hectic anyway, and you needed to be able to read it for every trick, which he did very well, especially for fakie and nollie.

I can remember when the ground started to get messed up. There was one big crack and an old man fell. The council came in, ripped up the slabs across the whole spot and put new sand and concrete underneath to smoothen it all out. It looked so smooth, but a few days later, there was a crazy rainstorm and the mixture that kept the slabs together hadn’t dried properly. They became uneven traps and wobbly, causing the beginning of the end for Fairfield. Month after month, they would crack and we started to pull them out to make Philadelphia-style bumps. What you see in Dom’s footage is the result of a job that was meant to fix the spot but killed it. I honestly believe that if that poor guy hadn’t fallen on that one crack, the spot would still be there and looking pretty much the same as it did in 1995.

Fairfield always looked so good in videos, but it got so much hate when we were younger. Unless you grew up there, and were really used to the way the ledges slid and grinded, people couldn’t get with it. We had a great scene for many years and I feel that the spot got forgotten about for so long. Dom put a smile on my face with everything he did there. The Gino [Iannucci] grind on the rounded off ledges is no joke. Those ledges were unforgiving.


Interview and edit by Farran Golding. Footage courtesy of Quentin Guthrie & Rich Smith. Paul Shier and archival Blueprint footage courtesy of Dan Magee. Photography by Wig Worland.

Previous Favorite Spots: Lucien Clarke on Victoria Benches, 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

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