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Livingston, Knightsridge East Road, Knightsridge Adventure Project

Building (20th Century), Recreation Ground (20th Century), Skatepark (20th Century)

Site Name Livingston, Knightsridge East Road, Knightsridge Adventure Project

Classification Building (20th Century), Recreation Ground (20th Century), Skatepark (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) The Vennie

Canmore ID 347666

Site Number NT06NW 96

NGR NT 04585 69253

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/347666

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council West Lothian
  • Parish Livingston
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District West Lothian
  • Former County West Lothian

Measured Survey (1 April 2015 - 30 April 2015)

SUP site visit, filming and measured survey of skatepark

Reference (14 October 2015 - 14 October 2015)

Actual and concept plans of the Skate-park designed and supplied by KOMPAN Scotland Ltd.

Reference (5 April 2016)

The ‘Vennie’ (venture) is the local name for the Knightsridge Adventure Project and Youth Club in Livingston, West Lothian. The facilities comprise a Clubhouse, Skate-park, Play park and a Community garden located close by.

The original youth club was developed by the Livingston Development Corporation from 1963 until 1993 when it was taken over by West Lothian Council.

The clubhouse itself is a single storey, brick built structure with a twin pitched, ridged roof. Externally there is colourful artistic graffiti, particularly on the E side facing the play park, which is typically transient.

The present building probably dates from the mid 1960s / early 1970s and has been modified internally over time, with the provision of a new corrugated roof in the 1990s.

The Skate-park was opened in 2013 and was designed in collaboration with local architects, contractors and the local youth group who submitted their own vision by way of annotated drawings to the architects to help inform the final design.

In 2014 the Knightsridge Adventure Project collaborated with the Scotland’s Urban Past Project to make a film about the process and outcomes on how the construction of the Skate-park became a reality, adding benefit and significance to their understanding of the local ‘Built Environment’. The resulting film features young people relating their experience and footage of them performing on the ‘Skatey’ itself.

The plans of the Skate-park accompanying this record entry show early conceptions and the final scheme designed by KOMPAN Scotland Ltd.

Information collated and submitted by SUP

Activities

Project (June 2015 - September 2019)

A five year project to record Scotland's urban past.

Note (December 2017)

‘Our work, our dedication’ – a brief history

This is a 21st century story of young skaters campaigning to get their skatepark built and, to quote the young people themselves, is about ‘work and dedication’.

The story starts in 1968, when Knightsridge was created as part of the Livingston New Town scheme. A landmark for local communities, the clubhouse of the Knightsridge Adventure Project (‘The Vennie’) has been located right in the heart of the area since this time. Community activity has flourished during the years and has helped create a youth club, a play park and community allotments. In 2013 a local group of 13–14 year old skaters decided to start fundraising to add a skatepark to the mix, quickly raising over £100.

This achievement inspired the local council to grant £65,000 to the Vennie’s skaters to build the skatepark. The design was conceived by the young people in collaboration with local architects and contractors and features a V-shaped plan – ‘V’ for Vennie. Since its construction in 2013, the skatepark has become a community hub and an important place for young people.

To celebrate this success, the skaters approached the Scotland’s Urban Past team to record their skatepark through measured drawings, and to create a film entirely produced by them, from story-boarding to filming and editing. Amidst skating stunts and graffiti, in the film the young people reveal the stories behind the construction of the skatepark, telling us why they value this place and conversely how this place has added value to their lives.

Is a skatepark heritage?

For the Vennie’s young people skating is a ‘way of expressing themselves’ and ‘brings people together’, and the skatepark is a space that keeps them from ‘hanging about the streets’ and ‘out of trouble’. The values they attach to the skatepark are broad ranging, spanning the social, cultural and economic spheres and contributing to the cultural significance of the place.

This project highlighted the question of what heritage really is and what should be recorded for posterity. This question is the real focus of the Scotland’s Urban Past programme.

Scotland’s Urban Past aims to discover the stories of the places that matter to people, encouraging community groups from Scotland’s towns and cities to come forward with projects to celebrate their heritage. Before the Vennie became the first skatepark in the National Record of the Historic Environment – we had to add the term skatepark to our glossary!

Other Scotland’s Urban Past projects that disrupt traditional ideas of heritage and followed, one example being a Parkour group in Edinburgh who demonstrated through a film how they interpret and use their urban environment as a playground.

These community-led projects contribute to a more comprehensive representation of the spirit of a place – the so called genius loci. They add new layers of significance and new values to places through personal stories, and are well-worth recording, and celebrating.

So, what will be next?

Chiara Ronchini RIBA RIAS, Project Manager Scotland’s Urban Past

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