First brought to the attention of the national skateboarding consciousness in 1997, the ‘Man Bank’, (or the ‘banked wall by the cherry trees in the Orange Zone University carpark off Lodge Street’ to those unaware of this decrepit stone monolith’s alternative life as a skate spot) is sadly no more.
The background to the spot’s name comes from Paul ‘Man’ Silvester’s onslaught on the previously untouched skateable architecture of Leeds, (and notably the architecture in and around Leeds University) from the late 90’s and onwards.
Paul, or ‘Man’ as he is known, was the first person to unlock the potential of skating this thing in other ways than as a flat bank, by ollieing off the back wall into it in 1997, and then one-upping himself for the last trick of his first proper skate section in Unabomber Skateboard’s 1998 release ‘Unapromo’.
Nobody really fucked with this spot by going from the top wall into the bank like Man had for the next decade of so, until a younger generation of locals and the odd visitor with a fondness from bone-jarring gallantry picked up Paul Silvester’s late 90’s gauntlet and ran with it.
Roughly, the timeline of notable tricks into the bank runs thus:
(Disclaimer: apologies if we’ve forgotten any – just let us know and we’ll fill in the gaps).
Paul Silvester - Ollie in (1997)
Paul Silvester - Kickflip in (1998)
Eddie Belvedere – Frontside half cab in (2010)
Tom Harrison – Nosepick the back wall (2010)
Paul Silvester – Backside 360 nollie in (2010)
James 'Foz' Foster – Frontside half cab flip in (2011)
James 'Foz' Foster – Switch flip in (2012)
Dale Starkie – Backside flip in (2012)
Dale Starkie – Kickflip and fakie ollie off the highest point coming straight into the bank (2013)
Robert 'Rooney' Woodward – Frontside full cab (2014)
Dale Starkie – Backside nollie flip in (2014)
Jake Mitchell – Half cab heel in (2014)
Dale Starkie – 360 flip in, turning frontside (2014)
Daryl Dominguez – 360 flip off the highest point coming straight into the bank (2016)
Sadly, as of late February 2017, the entire spot has been demolished to make way for a new Leeds University development, resigning this cobbled piece of Leeds skate history to the great skate spot guide in the sky.
In honour of its passing we thought we’d throw together this little reminder of its time in the skateboard limelight. Feel free to let us know if we missed anything.
RIP Man Bank. All hail Paul Silvester.