Henry C. Lowther, English Skating

The late nineteenth century was an exciting time for figure skaters. New turns were being discovered, and the foundations of the sport were laid out systematically. Henry C. Lowther’s three little books, brought together in this volume, provide a comprehensive picture of English skating at the end of the last century.

“[Lowther] writes of the subtle science of the art like the Platonic Socrates.”

A. E. Crawley in The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art (1913).

Edges and Striking is more than an introduction to skating. It discusses all the different edges and methods of getting onto them, including some that have been forgotten by the skating world.

Principle of Skating Turns describes the shoulder-versus-hip method of turning and explains how all the skating turns (threes, brackets, counters, rockers, Mohawks, and Choctaws) are related. This method is still taught today.

Combined Figure-Skating explains how to do the multi-person figures that were the pinnacle of English skating. Today’s skaters will find them both fascinating and challenging.

Originally sold both individually and as a boxed set, these three books are held in only a few libraries around the world. This new edition includes the full text of all three books and all the figures, plus a new introduction and notes. The introduction features biographical information on the author, and the notes make the text accessible to today’s readers.

This book is offered in two formats: a black-and-white paperback and a color hardcover.

227+iv pages, illustrated
ISBN 978-1-948100-03-8 (b&w paperback)
Buy now: USA; International
ISBN 978-1-948100-04-5 (color hardcover)
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Lowther in 1881. Reproduced by kind permission of the Master and Fellows of Balliol College.

Sir Henry Crofton Lowther (1858-1939) was a British diplomat and expert figure skater. He studied at Balliol College of Oxford University and went on to travel the world. He joined the National Ice Skating Association in 1899 and became a judge in 1900. His books were published in 1900 and 1902.


English Skating
English Figure-Skating, by A. E. Crawley
The English style today
Sir Henry C. Lowther
This edition

Edges and Striking
Hints for absolute beginners
The Edges
Different directions in which skate can travel
Explanation of terms outside and inside edge
Form required in English skating
Summary of essentials of good form
Changes of edge or serpentines
Importance of using the hips to effect movements in skating
Importance of correct striking
General principle of striking
Different classes of stroke
Special remarks on various classes of stroke
Special remarks on Classes 2 and 3
Special remarks on Class 4
Special remarks on Class 5
Special remarks on Class 6
Eights to a centre
Two forwards entire
Eights skated with the cross-roll
Concluding remarks

Principle of Skating Turns
Movements required in English figure skating
Mohawks and Choctaws
Principle of skating turns
Two methods of skating turns
Phases of preparation for any turn
General remarks
Summary of phases of preparation for a turn
Mohawks and Choctaws
Special remarks on the different groups of turns
Remarks applicable to certain classes of turns irrespectively of group to which they belong
Hints with regard to special combinations
Concluding remarks

Combined figure-skating
Combined figure-skating
Various styles of combined figure-skating
Terms used in combined figure-skating
Manner of circling round the centre
Imaginary lines and their use
Elementary calls
Dismiss calls
Difficult calls for advanced skaters
Set I
Set II
Set IV
Set V
Set VI
Set IX
Set X
Appendix I. Hand-in-hand skating
Rules of precedence in side-by-side scuds
Side-by-side scuds
Face-to-face scuds
Scuds as dance steps
Appendix II. Care of rinks