Palace Skateboards: Photographic book of history

Idea publishes photo book documenting history of London skate brand Palace

Alasdair McLellan’s photographs trace the rise of London skate brand Palace from its early roots as the Palace Wayward Boys Choir to its store in Soho, documenting a certain aspect of London life along the way.

The name Palace Wayward Boys Choir was first coined by Dazed & Confused’s book editor Stuart Hammond, who provides the text for this book, tracking the brand from its foundation in 2009 by Lev Tanju.

“Palace the skate company was born and raised in Palace the skate house: on glorious Lower Marsh, Waterloo, London SE1,” he writes in the book’s opener, setting the scene. “It wasn’t pokey, but as dwellings go it was never in any way at all palatial. We just always called it the Palace; one of our weak jokes about the woeful state of the place, which was always in disrepair, always squalorous, always with a parade of grubby skateboarders passing through, sofa-surfing, shitting the place up.”

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Alasdair McLellan has been photographing PWBC for seven years, from long before anyone had heard of Palace. Over 100 of his photographs appear in the book, which features a spiral bound design, vivid yellow plastic covers and art direction from M/M Paris.

“When I thought about skateboarding pictures I always used to think about America,” says McLellan. “Then I met Lev and PWBC. They all dressed more like they were going to a football match than skating in Waterloo. It was very British. The fact that looked like they could be in Fagin’s gang; it was like something out of a Dickens novel. I liked that the names they all had sounded like they’re out of Brighton Rock too; Nugget, Blondey, Edson, Snowy.”

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