Neglected public baths in search of new role
The Grade II-listed Haggerston Baths on Whiston Road in Hackney were designed by architect AWS Cross and opened in 1904.This magnificent pool complex, closed and boarded up since 2000, has seen plans to secure its future scuppered by the recession, despite its proximity to the Olympic site.
Plans to refurbish and reopen it were scrapped, and the glazed barrel-vaulted roof has now witnessed more than a decade of creeping dilapidation. It was built by Shoreditch Borough Council to serve the needs of this underprivileged area, and, as Pevsner put it, was ‘built to impress’ with a front fit for a palace.
The building stands proud in the streetscape, its grand exterior a stone’s throw from the lively Kingsland Road.Its neighbouring housing estates are being redeveloped. There is a strong local campaign to save the pool and a new healthcare centre has been proposed to make use of the building.
Hackney Council must ensure that action is taken as a matter of urgency to bring Haggerston 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.