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Ice skating in London in 1956

This vintage home movie is a short one featuring a family going ice skating on lake in a park in London in 1956.

The year I can be fairly sure of because the film has a note on it which mentions a date – 15 May 1956. Now it is possible that a lake froze in May, but a site which lists weather for London states that May 1956 was rather warm but that February that year was particularly cold. I think therefore that the note on the film relates to the second half of the film which I will feature later.

I’m also fairly sure the location is London because of the content of the film’s second half which was taken in Greenwich where the photographer lived, but I’m not sure of a specific location in London. It looks like a lake in one of the parks, possibly Greenwich Park since that would be local?

The film was shot on Kodachrome standard 8 colour film which has kept much of its original colour well over the years. The only post processing I carried out was to crop the edges slightly where the scanner over scanned.

Ice skating film

So to the film contents. It shows a family who seem to be showing their children the art of Ice Skating. First a girl is having an attempt, being helped round the ice by her mother, and then the younger boy puts the skates on and is being helped by both his mother and father. In the final scenes of the film two elder children are assisting their younger brother.

I find this film interesting from a social history point of view.

Although only a short film, it is interesting to see people and events from the past brought back to life and sometimes even seemingly uninteresting events like taking the family ice skating can still be fascinating to view some 60 years later.

Update: It turns out the pond is on Blackheath Common. This was confirmed by a viewer who found the film who also confirmed that they are related to the people shown in the film!

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If you see anything in the film which you recognise or you think gives clues to the location or date, please let me know in the comments below. Also, please share this post with your friends if you think they may be able to help locate scene in this film.

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A software developer by profession and an amateur photographer by hobby I've been interested in all things photographic since I was a teenager some 40 years ago. Many of my interests centre around vintage film photography and cinematography.


  1. Jillian Missen, was Cables. says:

    That’s the pond on Blackheath common. My relatives are skating.

    1. Hi
      Thanks for the comment – it’s fascinating to hear that you are related to the people in the film. Do you mind if I ask how you found the film?

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