Cool memories of the North East ice rink

Durham Ice Rink pictured in 1994.
Durham Ice Rink pictured in 1994.
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Those were the days and you would have them back in an instant.

We’re talking about the times when you could enjoy a skating session at the ice rinks of Durham and Sunderland.

Crowtree Leisure Centre in 1990.

Crowtree Leisure Centre in 1990.

When we posted an old photograph of the Durham ice rink, a superb 70,000 of you took a look and told us more.

It prompted lots of you to reflect on wonderful times.

Rachael Richards said: “Wonderful memories of competitions there in the 80s, Tuesday night Marjorie Skerry trophy, and the Annuals where all the ice was stripped back on one side and we had to skate around the cones. Freezing cold, but always a wonderful atmosphere and fab friendships were formed.”

Jacqueline Cuthbertson said: “Yep, we loved the ice rink at Sunderland too. Every Saturday. Was a must.”

The end of Durham ice rink as demolition gets underway.

The end of Durham ice rink as demolition gets underway.

So was the after-session treat. “Then getting cheesy chips afterwards. Heaven.”

Brenda Wynn Teasdale first went on the ice in 1955 and added: “Loved it went for another eight years as often as I could.”

Paula Taylor reminisced: “As a figure skater early 70s won spiral, spin and jump competition Saturday mornings, I think when it was run spent six days a week training.”

Then, when it all stopped, Paula went on to support Durham Wasps and said: “Fab team, rink should never have closed. Think I would still go skating.”

Jean Doran’s mam and dad met there in 1947 and married a year later. “Mam had great memories and loved to tell the story of how she met Dad. Both now sadly deceased but never forgotten. XX.”

Thanks also to Carl Littlejohns, who said: “Spent most of my youth there, every weekend without fail. Either skating, helping out with the djing/music or watching the Wasps on a Sunday night with my parents. It was a place to meet new and old friends alike. Something that the youth of today miss out on.”

Michelle Fenwick had many fond memories and said: “Being an ice skater from Sunderland I’d regularly compete at Durham in the 80s. I remember the old ice skates by the river and also getting stuck in the snow on that huge bank on a dark winter’s night.”

Andrew Snook loved “watching Durham Wasps on a Sunday night with my family. Learnt to skate on the puck chasing sessions after the games and went on to play Rec Hockey for Durham Dragons for 10 years. Extremely happy memories.

“Just a shame no one on the council can see what it meant to the people of Durham and the lives that place changed for the better!”

He urged: “Someone build an ice rink to be proud of and the place will be packed!”

Christine Scott recalled: “Used to go on a Monday night for lessons with my friend Margaret Elliott. Always cold and could hardly walk in the skates as no support around the ankles. Much better when I got my own!”

Elizabeth Wilson had similarly painful memories of her skating days. “Being on the ice for 5 seconds and my friend going down like a ton of bricks. Smashed her knee, 999 job! Spent the rest of the afternoon in hospital waiting for her Mam to come and get us.”

Stella Holt remembered: “I moved from Sunderland to Tudhoe for my work and at weekends the girls and I went to Durham Ice Rink loved it ... whilst waiting for our bus back to Tudhoe we would go in the cafe bar across from the bus station and play the juke box. Telstar was one record I can remember. Happy Memories ...”

Nicci Wardell had a magical memory of the ice rink. “The smell of the fog across the ice first thing on a crisp cold morning before ice hockey school ... nothing like it ... then the 2 inches of water in the summer when the ice would melt.”

Brian Pickup reminisced: “Watching 4 North East teams in the Castle Eden Cup, fantastic.”

Christine Donkin Canning recalled: “Great memories early 60s would catch a train there and back to Sunderland , was only 11-13 yrs old with friends ... gosh times were good and very safe too.”

They were great times and we received lots more recollection from readers.

Sadly, Durham Ice Rink disappeared from the skyline in 2013, leaving behind fond memories for thousands of people.

But if you have any of your own to share, get in touch and email Let’s re-live the good old days.