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At Haggerston Pool

September 22, 2015
by the gentle author

Contributing Photographer Simon Mooney gained rare access to Haggerston Pool which has been sitting unused for fifteen years and produced this photoessay of a journey through the building.

Readers are encouraged to attend the public meeting on Thursday 8th October at 7pm to discuss the future of the Grade II listed building at VLC Centre (next to the pool), Whiston Rd, E2 8BN, where an exhibition of competing proposals will be open to view from 6pm.

At the opening ceremony, Alderman E J Wakeling, Vice-Chair of the Baths Committee, swam a length of the pool underwater

Photographs copyright © Simon Mooney

You may also like to take a look at these other stories by Simon Mooney

Catalogue of Destruction

At Dalston Lane

At London’s Oldest Ironmongers

At General Woodwork Supplies

10 Responses leave one →
  1. September 22, 2015

    Sorry to see it in such a condition, I remember spending many happy afternoons there. Hope something can be done to put the building to good use. Valerie

  2. isa permalink
    September 22, 2015

    What an interesting article.I do hope some how it can be restored as it looks brilliant.I go to a very similar pool in age and looks called Motscombe Pool it is far more fun than a huge modern pool.The water there is spring water and because it is small pool, one gets to know the staff and swimmers, so you feel that it is like a private pool.I liked the photographs of the big heating system.The pool should be renewed and used.I read about how those pools were built as wash houses as at the time the poor did not have baths etc and the facilities as we all take for granted, and this was important to help with keeping people clean and healthy.

  3. Jane permalink
    September 22, 2015

    These pictures bring back the “horror” of weekly swimming lessons at various Victorian baths in the north west of England throughout the early 70’s. Everything was wet, chlorine drenched and terrifying. I seem to remember the teachers each had a pole to keep pushing you away from the side – I never did learn to swim as a child. Years later I fell from a boat into the Thames, more swimming lessons booked, and at last I “got” it. When we lived in London I sought out the old Victorian baths – the length, depth and architecture, modern pools are such poor imitations.

  4. September 22, 2015

    There is surely such a big market for people who want a ‘vintage swim’, vintage anything is huge right now. It would be wonderful to step back in time and have a swimming experience amongst wood and porcelain and detailing in a beautiful building, something different to the ‘public pool’ experience that can be nerve fraying! Is there no one out there who would buy this and restore it?

    :crosses fingers:

  5. ROBERT GREEN permalink
    September 22, 2015

    Lovely building, been sitting empty for >15< years, always good to know the powers at be can be relied on not to rush into anything, after all we don't want them wasting our taxes do we, if only I could some how find a way to run my business with the same level of efficiency as local authorities and governments do, if I could I would have, errr, well, ? ? NO BUSINESS.

  6. Linda Kincaid permalink
    September 23, 2015

    Wonderful photos. What a shame this pool is not in use. Hope they can find a good use for it . Fingers crossed that it gets re-opened.

  7. Jonathan permalink
    September 23, 2015

    When the pool was closed 15 years ago, the health and safety advisors estimated that the necessary repairs and refurbishment to reopen the pool would cost £300,000. The Council of Hackney claimed they had no such amount in the coffers for such a project and held out for a more profitable arrangement with commercial developers. After well over a decade of intentional obfuscation which has allowed the building to further deteriorate(all part of the plan), the proposed cost of refurbishment has reached absurd levels. Naturally, highly-paid “experts” and representative of multi-nationals have padded the bill and convinced anyone with any power that the pool as it is will never re-open. Their new figure is £30 million. Never think for one moment that the delay of such things is merely bureaucratic ineptitude. Allowing public buildings to decay is one of the best strategies to render them public eyesores, dangerous, havens for squatters, etc. After that has been achieved, corporate interests can swoop in, stifle public objections, and offer buckets of cash to the council to take the problem off their hands.

  8. Kerrie Hodge! permalink
    September 26, 2015

    Such a sad sight, I lived on the same road so the pool was a massive part of our childhood, swimming lessons with school and would go with our friends after school and grab a hot chocolate from the canteen. At a younger age mum would watch me from the balcony.

  9. September 26, 2015

    I can’t believe it’s been 15 years! It looks like it’s been closed for a lot longer!! I learned to swim in that pool, and have many fond memories. Mr Anderson was my swimming instructor and I will never forget his Scottish accent, screaming out…”keeeeep going”!
    I think the council should find the money and make it a local pool again!! Very important for a community!!

  10. Ricky Kelley permalink
    May 9, 2016

    I first learnt to swim at Haggerston back in the 60`s.

    Very disappointed to see the building not being used.

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