Double Threat Skates: Arch artisans

Double Threat Skates: Arch artisans

Double Threat Skates: Arch artisans 2560 1707 Karishma Puri

Few high streets can claim to have the grandeur and contrast of Midland road, flanking St Pancras Station. The centuries-old railway coal storage arches, now converted into shop fronts, look directly onto the modern glass and steel of St Pancras station. Here, surrounded by old-school antique dealers and clock repairers, sits another specialist pair of makers. Double Threat Skates, a rollerskate business, is continuing London’s tradition of urban craftspeople, “We definitely consider ourselves part of the artisan maker community” the owners tell us, gesturing to a crowded work table cluttered with leather, aluminum and nuts and bolts.

Two women laughing in rollerskate shop

 Co-owners Phyllisophia Jason-Smith & Kristen Dusting started the business in 2013, “We only sell rollerskates, so no rollerblades, no ice skates, no scooters, only rollerskates” Phyllisophia tells us, beaming with pride. “We consider ourselves to be rollerskate specialists.” Both Phyllisophia and Kristen have backgrounds in roller derby, a fearsome racing contact sport played on rollerskates. “We started as a roller derby store, but over the years progressed into rollerskates for all kinds of different skating”. During the past decade, Double Threat Skates was able to carve out a niche for itself in the market and become a kind of rollerskating institution under the historic coal arches. “When you’ve been here for such a long time, you really start to feel like a local. Over the last 10 years, we’ve become a hub for the community of skaters that’s developed around London. We’re like an oasis, an Aladdin’s cave for rollerskates in the brick arches.” Kristen tells us.  

It’s joyful, it’s exercise, it’s communal, and you can do it almost anywhere.”

Phyllisophia Jason-Smith co-founder of Double Threat Skates

While the neighbouring businesses may seem like more traditional craft institutions, rollerskating has been around since the 19th century. “It’s been around for a long time, and interestingly during the pandemic, we spoke to our supplier and he said “Don’t worry, in a crisis people turn to roller skating” because all you have to do is strap them on, go outside… As it turns out, if British people can’t go to the pub, they take up rollerskating and it was actually an industry that really boomed during the period.” Phyllisophia told us gleefully. “It’s joyful, it’s exercise, it’s communal and you can do it almost anywhere”.  

Street view of skate shop with a man walking past

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