Camberwell Baths in south London will officially re-open to the public this Saturday after the completion of the first stage of a £4.7 million restoration project.
'This is a victory for local campaigners and proof that it is possible to provide 21st century sports facilities in a historic building', said Dr Ian Dungavell, Director of the Victorian Society. ‘The threat of closure has hung over this pool for many years but pressure from the Camberwell Baths Campaign and then a commitment from Southwark council mean the pool now has a future.'
The Grade II-listed baths on Artichoke Place in Camberwell now boast a refurbished and re-tiled 25 metre main pool, as well as a smaller learner pool and re-vamped changing areas.
'After a hard fought four-year campaign, we are delighted to welcome the re-opening of the swimming pool', said Helen Owen of the Camberwell Baths Campaign. 'The work has opened up the beauty of the Victorian building for a new generation of Camberwellians. But the campaign for funding goes on, and we are trying to raise £1.09m to refurbish the Second Class pool area to make a sports hall.'
The newly-restored pool will now remain open while other parts of the Camberwell Leisure Centre are refurbished; a new gym, gymnastics hall and a youth centre are all set to open in the summer.
Conservative Councillor, Lewis Robinson was responsible for Southwark's leisure facilities when the project got underway:
'It seems a long time ago now, but two years ago no-one at the Town Hall believed that Camberwell Baths could be saved. Two years on, both of the Victorian baths in Camberwell and Dulwich have been refurbished, providing a real Olympic Legacy for our children, and demonstrating that civic pride is alive and well in our local community.'