Haggerston Baths earmarked one of the nation’s most threatened buildings
- Credit: Archant
A forgotten Victorian swimming pool in Haggerston has been named one of the nation’s 10 most threatened buildings.
Haggerston Baths in Whiston Road is included in the Victorian Society’s list of the most endangered Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales, following an appeal to the public for nominations.
To be eligible a building has to be at risk of demolition, insensitive development or as in the case of Haggerston Baths, years of neglect and an absence of any plan for its future.
The Grade-II listed pool complex, which opened in 1904 was designed by architect AWS Cross, has been boarded up for the past 13 years.
Refurbishment plans, set to cost around £25 million, were scrapped in 2011 when the recession hit.
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There is a strong local campaign to save the pool and a new healthcare centre has been proposed to make use of the building.
Liz Hughes, spokeswoman for the Haggeston pool campaign is delighted the Victorian Society has flagged up the pool’s plight.
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She said: “I really think the publicity will help get some action taken in letting people know the pool is still there, and what a fantastic resource it could be for Hackney.
“We understand the council no longer has the resources to do it themselves, but we think there are opportunities for the council to work local community partners to bring the pool back to life.”
The pool was built by Shoreditch Borough Council to serve the needs of people living in the underprivileged area, and, as art historian Sir Nikolaus Bernhard Leon Pevsner stated, was “built to impress” with a front fit for a palace.
The glazed barrel-vaulted roof has now witnessed more than a decade of creeping dilapidation.
Chris Costelloe, director of the Victorian Society urged Hackney Council to take action to bring the baths back to life.
“At a time when there is so much new development in the area it is important to capitalise on our existing assets and to put important buildings like Haggerston Baths into public use again,” he said.
But Cllr Jonathan McShane, the town hall's culture boss, said the massive cost involved and the huge financial pressure the council is under means there are no plans to reopen the pool at present.
“We are in regular contact with the Haggerston Pool campaign and have provided them with information and advice as and when requested,” he said.
“We will work with them or anyone else who has viable proposals for the building.”
This is the seventh year the Victorian Society has run the endangered buildings campaign, which aims to highlight the problems facing many of our historic buildings.