Esoteric London

No. 1013: Bankside, SE1

Posted in Amusements, Parks, Sport, The Thames and its Tributaries by esotericlondon on January 15, 2014

© Roger Dean RED_6395 copy

Bankside, London, SE1. Photo © Roger Dean 2014

Curiosities of London Life: Or, Phases, Physiological and Social, of the Great Metropolis – Charles Manby Smith, 1857:

While admiring the graceful evolutions of some of the practised skaters, who seem to fly on the wings of the wind, and to be guided by the action of the will rather than the force of muscular exercise, we cannot help being struck with what appears to us a most undesirable change in the fashion of skating affected in the present day. When the young Benjamin West exhibited his Adonis-like form upon the Serpentine to the supreme admiration of our grandmothers, we are very sure that he had too true and fine a sense of the graceful to be seen for a moment in the attitude which now is esteemed the perfection of the accomplishment. Every skater now-a-days who has learned to feel his feet upon the ice, aspires apparently to emulate the motion of the crab, and esteems it the climax of the art to be able to skate backwards, twisting his neck in such a way as to enable him to see behind him. Think of a man travelling five or six hundred yards in the act of sitting down, and alternately grinning over either shoulder lest he should come in contact with another performing the same preposterous feat!

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