If you are local to the Coventry area, or have followed The Terrible Company for a while, then you might be familiar with a spot called Brickies (aka “The Brickworks”, or more formally known as “Coventry Council House”). Without any irony, Brickies was one of my favourite skate spots in the world, which is why I was gutted to find out the building it was part of was demolished over the last couple of weeks. I thought it was only right that I posted a few words about our favourite piss stained, rough, mellow spot.
The Brickworks was a spot that summed up the brutalist architecture of Coventry after the war. Many of the traditional medieval buildings in Coventry didn’t survive the second world war, and the juxtaposition of 50’s blockwork with Tudor housing is part of Coventry City Centre’s charm. One of these newer buildings was the new council house – an ugly brick building which had an equally ugly suspended umbilical cord tunnel attached to the existing, Tudor style, council offices. The base of this building had an undercover walkway, which at the time must have seemed quite futuristic. The walkway was lit with dim lights and surrounded with banked brick slopes which lead up to the grass surrounding the building.
Upon its initial build I doubt the architect thought that during the 80’s people on wooden toys would start using these slopes to do tricks on. As skateboarding grew in popularity, Coventry’s burgeoning skate scene took to the brick banks and used them to practice lip tricks and hunt out unique gap opportunities. Gaz Taylor was snapped in Sidewalk performing a melon grab on one of these gaps – out of one of the steeper banks, and onto the pavement behind.
The first generation of Coventry skateboarders cemented Brickies as a staple spot of Cov Street Skateboarding – every skateboarder in the city who ventured into the city centre had at least one trick at the spot and for transition skaters it was the kind of spot they thrived on. It’s openness was reminiscent of skateparks, the raw feeling of the terrain offered a challenge, the perfect waxed brick lips of the banks offered opportunities to bring grinds and lip tricks to the street, and the mellow banks allowed slightly more advanced moves over what could be done on traditional skatepark ramps. It was a perfect middle ground for ramp skaters and proper street skaters alike, and it hosted huge sessions with multiple crews turning up to skate the banks.
Brickies was the beginning of my love affair with skating obstacles made of bricks, or obstacles with brick texture. It is the reason why I love the sound of skateboard wheels on brick, it is the reason I count the Brooklyn Banks and the SF China Banks as two of my most desired spots in the world to visit, and it’s the reason I asked the Leam guys to put in the brick China Bank inspired obstacle at Vicki Park. Skating terrain like The Brickworks is part of the DNA of Coventry Skateboarding and although you can find other spots like it in Coventry (Madges banks is literally 30 seconds walk from Brickies) or the World, there is no feeling like bombing round Brickies, slashing the lips of each bank. Even after the council knobbed the spot in it’s old age, it was still the most fun I could have at a street spot. I’m going to miss it immensely.
RIP Brickies – to finish, here’s me doing a trick on the old boy during one of the last sessions to happen at the spot before it was closed off for demolition.
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