Nostalgia: Gymnastics on the home stretch

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IT is an attraction which sent the heart rates of eager gymnasts pounding – and that was before it had even opened its doors.

Today, suspense surrounding Portobello’s new gymnastics and soft play centre – the first purpose-built facility of its kind in Edinburgh – comes to an end as its opening ribbon is sliced and hundreds of enthusiastic customers are expected to rush to test it.

A team of Norwegian junior gymnasts puts on a display in 1961

A team of Norwegian junior gymnasts puts on a display in 1961

Tumbles – as the state-of-the-art centre on the Promenade is called – will cater not only for boisterous toddlers, but elite athletes of all ages as a key training facility for their sporting needs.

It is an attraction sports enthusiasts from Edinburgh’s yesteryear would have loved to have had the opportunity to train in as they honed their skills.

Pictured here in March 1964, these youngsters at Clermiston Primary School performed their gymnastics moves in their main hall, ahead of a concert to be held in the building that week.

Similarly, without a sprung floor in sight, girls from 1R1 are pictured here doing PE in the James Clark gymnasium in December 1970, considered more than fit for purpose back in the day.

Girls from class 1R1 doing PE in the James Clark school gymnasium in December 1970

Girls from class 1R1 doing PE in the James Clark school gymnasium in December 1970

Of course, the Capital has a long-standing history with gymnastics and we have been wowed on many occasions by the talents of sports people who have performed here, including those pictured in Pilrig Park during the 1986 
Festival.

Carole Sherman, Joanne Robley Dixon and Sally Dewhurst performed as part of Circus Senso, leaving audiences shocked by their agility.

And in August 1984, similar wonder was shown when the Junior Leaders’ Regiment of the Royal Artillery put on an amazing high-flying ­gymnastics display as part of the Tattoo.

Carole Sherman, Joanne Robley Dixon and Sally Dewhurst from Circus Senso perform at The Dome in Pilrig Park during the Festival in 1986

Carole Sherman, Joanne Robley Dixon and Sally Dewhurst from Circus Senso perform at The Dome in Pilrig Park during the Festival in 1986