New life for old boots at the Museum of Liverpool
How long did you skate in your first pair of skates?
Jade (our very own Metal Alchemist) managed nearly ten years on her trusty Riedell R3s. Ten! That must be a record. If you’ve skated on yours for longer, we want to know! In the main, skaters retire their R3s as soon as they need something more and can afford to, often within a couple of years of starting skating.
Over the years, when pressed about why she’d never changed her skates, Jade said:
“If they ain’t broke, why change them?”
Fair enough. But then one day this May, there she was, her boots held together with duct tape, sweat and floor gunk and we’re not sure what else. No longer could she ignore the nails poking through the sole of her boot or in fact that one of her boots was now pretty much torn in half with the plate hanging off. She finally decided enough was enough. As she held them up, she said “I think it’s time.” Daria Dynamite looked at her old boots , shook her head and quipped “They’re so old they should be in a museum!”
Museums don’t just collect old things, we know that, but Daria had a point! These boots had served Jade well through nearly ten years since LRB was first set up in 2009 and lived through all the changes that has happened to roller derby since then. Minors getting abolished, boutfits giving way to sportswear, skaters using their own names more often, to name a few. These skates were part of Liverpool Roller Birds’ history.
We got in touch with the Museum of Liverpool to see if they would be interested in Jade’s boots, as we knew they already had lots of sports gear in their collections. Turns out they were! Along with her boots, this June we donated Jade’s uniform top and a programme featuring Jade from LRB’s first birthday in 2010. We also donated a gold helmet and pads; a full kit! We thought they might not want a used mouthguard though – that might be one step too far! It’s exciting that the story of roller derby in Liverpool might reach more people through the museum.
It’s not the first time LRB artefacts have been collected by the museum. In 2016, they interviewed our Pengwynn, aka Bethany and featured her story alongside an LRB Programme in National Museum Liverpool’s LGBTQI+ collections.
“Being LGBT is a part of the norm for roller derby teams. I find that normality extraordinary, so I cherish it.” Bethany, LRB 2016.
Read more about Bethany’s story and see the programme in National Museums Liverpool’s LGBTQIA+ collection on their website.
We’re so proud to add more of Liverpool’s Roller Birds story to the museums sporting and LGBTQIA+ collections, alongside our fellow Liverpool LGBTQIA+-friendly sports teams the Liverpool Tritons and Mersey Marauders. Hopefully one day, Jade’s kit will be on display for us all to enjoy.