The first artificial ice skating rink opened in London in June of 1844, after a few months in a temporary location at Covent Gardens. Strangely, that was before the technology was available to freeze water for the skating surface. The Glaciarium was decorated to resemble a winter wonderland, refreshing in the summer heat. It would have been easier to create the illusion if they had air conditioning.
But, as Tim Jepson and Larry Porges write in the National Geographic London Book of Lists, it smelled noxious. “At the time, ice couldn’t be manufactured and kept frozen in sufficient quantities to create a proper rink. The appalling smell of the substitute, a mixture of pig fat and salts, would be the project’s undoing,” they write.
Skating on a surface of lard in the summer had to be extremely unpleasant. The Glaciarium only lasted a few months before it closed down. But the technology to build a real rink came about some years later, and Londoners were skating on ice by 1876. Read how that came about at Smithsonian.