London’s Ladywell Baths on Top Ten Endangered Buildings list

The Society urges Lewisham Council to redouble its efforts to find a developer able to bring the building back to life.


The Victorian Society today reveals that Ladywell Baths in Lewisham, London, is one of 2015’s Top Ten Most Endangered Victorian and Edwardian Buildings in England and Wales. The Society urges Lewisham Council to redouble its efforts to find a developer able to bring the building back to life.

Griff Rhys Jones, The Victorian Society Vice President, launching the Top Ten, said “These are buildings that need help, and we need your help.” Inclusion in the Society’s Top Ten often leads to national exposure and new interest in the buildings selected which can help save them.

When Ladywell Baths opened, newspapers reported that cleanliness was next to godliness as the baths were so close to the parish church. The building must have made an impact with its gothic arches, huge circular tower with turret, stained glass and decorative ironwork. Innovatively, to avoid paying the water company, the baths sunk a 270ft well yielding 8,000 gallons of water an hour. A fountain in baths grounds was topped with the coping stones of ‘ye well of our ladye at Lewisham’ which gives its name to the area and which was said to have been credited with ‘healing virtues’. The baths have long since lost their turret and other decorative features and have lain empty for many years. Lewisham Council, which owns the Baths, carried out repairs to keep the building water tight several years ago but says it has struggled to find anyone to take the building on which has suffered internal vandalism. With a property boom across London the baths have lots of potential for reuse – surely the time is right for someone to come to its rescue.

Director of the The Victorian Society, Christopher Costelloe, said: ‘We’re grateful to everyone who nominated Ladywell Baths. Like all the buildings included in this year’s Top Ten, Ladywell Baths is a listed building meaning that the Government has recognised its national importance. What was once a hub of the community deserves better than lying empty half obscured by trees. I urge the public to share the Top Ten list, and Griff’s message, to help raise awareness of the building’s situation and help it find the investment is so desperately needs.’

Plans of the building when new can be found here.


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