Haggerston Baths will stay dry. A century of serving Hackney ends as developer pool plan sinks

Haggerston Baths Whiston Road E2 8BA deshokto0615 © DavidAltheer@gmail.com
Out at the deep end: Haggerston Baths goes to creatives and perhaps private members
Haggerston Baths Whiston Road E2 8BA 1904 © LBH archives
Grand opening: the Edwardians knew how to throw a launch party

* UPDATE 120317: Only two firms, London and Regional Properties and Castle Forge are now left on the list of  ideas wanting to buy the long lease for the baths. Neither proposes restoring the pool Loving Dalston will run a full version, with images off the plans, soon

 

HAGGERSTON BATHS will be closed to swimmers for ever. Owner Hackney council has given up on its attempt to save the bijou pool, part of a complex of grand Edwardian chambers that has been falling into decay since 2000.

Ship symbol atop Haggerston Baths Hackney London ahoy urgent need for maintenance 120615 © david.altheer@gmail.com
Sea change: the little ship symbol atop the building needs urgent maintenance

Unwilling to take the London Fields Lido option, where the council closed the 50m baths, for 20 years, then reopened after public pressure, Hackney decided to sell the property’s 250-year lease to a private developer.

Only one of the best 10 bids included “retaining the pool”. In the council’s defence, it should be noted that it says it spent most of 2016 negotiating with that developer.

Eventually, however, Hackney, not convinced the firm could implement its pro-pool proposal, settled on a list of three finalist bids.

They will go on show for public consultation “in the new year”, says the council, and a final decision is “likely to be made in spring 2017”.

Sculpture reference to Haggerston Baths ship symbol in a nearby housing development Hackney London 2016 © david.altheer[ at ]gmail.com
Carved reference at nearby new housing to the baths symbol
The three finalist bids, briefly:

* London and Regional Propertiesworkspace for tech. businesses; art gallery; screening room and function room in a multifunction space; café and — probably most contentious of all — private members’ club;

* Castle Forge — commercial space; studios or workshops; “affordable” (that notoriously vague term); workspace; four retail units; café; art gallery or exhibition space; community rooms;

Seaforth Land — workspace for creatives; arts venue; design hub; café; retail; office space; live-work space.

Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville says the council “will work with the winning developer to make sure the final proposals bring this much-loved building back to use”.

HaggBathsInt: Haggerston Baths interior Whiston Road E2 8BA deshokto0615 © DavidAltheer@gmail.com
Vandalised: inside the baths, as they looked when Loving Dalston was last shown over them

The pool complex is considered one of the most endangered buildings in the land. Despite the council’s spending £100,000pa on maintenance and security, vandalism has wreaked the usual kind of damage.

At time of publication, no comment had reached Loving Dalston from campaign group Save Haggerston Pool.

David Altheer 051216

* Backstory, Hackney pulls plug on Haggy Baths hopes; Hiring a lido contractor is not going swimmingly; Hackney flooded with enquiries; Could the Haggy become a pub?Hackney washes its hands of heritage siteSell Haggerston pool says Hackney

HAGGERSTON BATHS Whiston Rd Hackney London plaque 2015 © david.altheer[ at ]gmail.com
Unintended irony: the foundation plaque is near the Hackney council sign below
SwimmersLn: sign @ Haggerston Baths Hackney London 120615 © david.altheer@gmail.com

* All pictures on this page © DavidAltheer [at] gmail.com — apart from old pic of pool interior, courtesy Hakney Archives  and all are for sale for reproduction. Most photographs are available in bigger formats

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