skater by Phil Fisk
Photo by Phil Fisk

The skaters at the derelict Grove Tavern car park held a thought-provoking event on 17 November 2022 to show their parents and local residents what they do at the site. After a display of skateboarding skills there was this documentary by Nick Vieweg including interviews with the skaters and with Tilly, the site ‘caretaker’, who also provides emotional support to the younger skaters. This was followed by a talk on the Grove allotment from Becky, one of the gardeners who grow fruit and veg in the old pub garden; a musical interlude by the skaters; a presentation about their summer Shakespeare adaptation ‘A Midsummer Skate Dream’ and finally a panel discussion.

Phil Fisk, a local resident and professional photographer, also showed a short film about how the Grove DIY started. His film has been shown at two film festivals and shortlisted for the London Short Film Festival 2023. Fisk's work, including the image used for this article, can be found here and at @philfisk on Instagram.

Throughout the evening the young skaters stressed the skills, creativity and safe space the site gives them. Several parents were also present and are supportive. The whole event was organised by Tilly, the site ‘caretaker’, who also provides emotional support to the younger skaters. There was no major discussion about the pub’s future and nobody knows the Dulwich Estate’s plans for when Stonegate, the current lessees, vacate the site. 

If you're passing the skate park do pop in and say 'hi' to the skaters. They are keen to make contact with non-skaters and you don't have to be interested in skateboarding to understand what they are doing.