The 1985 roller disco protest and New Year’s Day pram race


New Year’s Day means many things to many people – but for some it will always mean climbing into prams for a race.

These pictures were published in the County Times in 1985 and show some of the good people of Horsham and Cranleigh who took part in their respective races.



The Horsham race was organised by the Coot Pub, in Merryfield Drive, while the Cranleigh Lions organised theirs – though they were disappointed with the turnout.

When asked why only nine teams had taken part, Paul Withers, of the Lions, sighed: “People seem to favour those baby buggies these days.”

It was the year the wreck of the Titanic was found and Back To The Future was released, while over in Horsham, the town’s teenagers were up in arms over the cancelling of their roller disco.

The year was 1985 and the disco in question used to be held in the Park Recreation Centre, until Horsham District Council pulled the plug.



If they expected the teens to take the loss quietly, they were wrong. Petitions were launched and an interview with the West Sussex County Times followed.

According to the determined skaters, with no safe place to go, their fellow teens were putting themselves at risk by skating in the streets, car parks and playgrounds.

Pictured on the back row were Liam Coen, Andrew Cockram, Jason Lammas and John Griffin, with Vicki Watts, Roisin Coen, Mark Dowling, Wayne Ellis, Nick Wainewright and David Griffin on the front row.

Roisin, who was a pupil at the Millais School, told the County Times she had drawn up a petition demanding Horsham District Council allow the disco back.



While the council said the disco was closed because it was no longer financially viable, 15-year-old Roisin had her suspicions about the ‘real’ reason – the effect of hundreds of little wheels on the recreation centre’s newly installed floor. She said: “We’ve been told our boots act like emery boards.”

So what was left for the gang to do without a roller disco? Roisin said: “Unless you want to be a Girl Guide or are a sports fanatic, there is really not much for young people to do in Horsham. There is the Arts Centre but it’s much too dear for most of us.”

Roisin needn’t have worried. 1985 was also the year the Internet’s Domain Name System was created. Facebook was on the way!

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