An application has been made to repair parts of the roof at a historic leisure centre which first opened as a Victorian public bath house .

Hackney Council is asking for listed building consent to repair timbers and brickwork at the 126-year-old Kings Hall in Lower Clapton Road.

The Grade II-listed leisure centre first opened in 1897 as a public baths, with three swimming pools – men’s first class and second class, and ladies’ – as well as individual baths and showers.

This was at a time when many people did not have washing facilities at home.

It was visited by the Prince of Wales and is thought to be named Kings Hall after the royal who ascended to the throne as King Edward VII in 1901.

The men’s first swimming pool was covered over in the winter until the 1960s and used as an exhibition pool.

It was used for entertainment and even indoor bowling and a railway fair.

Attendance figures for 1971-2 show that the washing facilities were still in demand, with 60,000 visits to the warm baths and 15,000 to the showers, whilst the swimming pools were used 200,000 times.

It currently records 380,000 visits a year.

The men’s second-class pool and ladies’ pool were converted to a gym and sports hall in the 1990s.

According to a design and access report by conservation experts Alan Baxter, much of the timber roof is in a poor condition because of movement or water getting in.

The repairs include fitting new rafters and joists to match and support the existing ones. Roof coverings and tiles will be replaced like for like where needed.

The report said: “Repairs are necessary in order to prevent further damage or loss of fabric, minimise health and safety risks and to ensure the longevity of the listed building.”

Last year, the council approved a four-year contract worth £3.3 million to a company to draw up designs for the refurbishment and prepare them to be submitted as a planning application.

According to English Heritage, “the baths retain numerous features of interest as well as a handsome frontage, and are listed as a building of special interest, embodying late Victorian civic concern for the promotion of cleanliness and fitness”.