Manchester was actually first in the field, with the Rushoim Ice Rink, formed on Gamgees process, opened in 1876. It ran for about 12 months supported by skaters and curlers but, mainly because of its uneven surface and the intense, damp cold which often caused a thick impenetrable mist, it was an extremely uncomfortable place and, in consequence, it closed down.
Another rink was later constructed at Southport, about 16 miles away from Liverpool. It was mainly built and supported by the businessmen of the two great cities. The foundation stone was laid by Lord Clarence Paget on April 5th, 1877, it cost £30,000, was 164 by 64 feet and was opened on January 10th, 1879, thus coinciding with the foundation of the National Skating Association. This famous rink, The Southport Glaciarium, was advertised as:
The Only Real Ice Skating Hall in the World!
The Figure Skaters Paradise! Open in all
Seasons! Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter!
In 1889 after ten years of struggle and eventual financial loss, it closed down.
It is interesting to note that the manager and chief engineer of this rink, Mr. Nightingale, whom many of us remember so very well, eventually came to London and served as ice maker and engineer at the celebrated Princes Skating Club, the private club started and supported entirely by the Duchess of Bedford, and housed in the same building where now is the Daimler Hire Co. in Knightsbridge. In 1881 an artificial rink was opened in Frankfurt and another in Munich in 1892, which lasted a long time, for it was run in connection with the brewery and by all accounts was a most amusing and refreshing place. Then there came, in 1893, the Pole Nord in Paris and in London the Niagara Hall near Charing Cross.These were followed by a rink on the site of Henglers Circus, where is now the London Palladium, and was known as the National Skating Palace and where, in 1898, the I.S.U. held the memorable World Championship which was won by the Swedish skater Henning Grenander.