The boat on top of Haggerston Baths

I cycled down Whiston Road last week and spotted this amazing boat, high up above the roofs. Today I returned to sketch it, and investigate further.

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Whiston Road E2 is in Hackney, going off the Queensbridge Road.

I sketched outside Bryant Court. Then I went down “Swimmers Lane” and had a look at the back of the building. It’s a huge place. Clearly a former swimming pool, hence, presumably, Swimmers Lane.

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On the front is the Foundation stone, laid in 1903.

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Foundation Stone (click to enlarge image)

There are also huge entrance doors labelled “MEN” and “WOMEN”.

The whole place is sadly neglected.

I went and looked at the ship from the other side.

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Boat on Haggerston Baths, from the Queensbridge Road

While I was drawing, birds settled on the rigging.

At home, I found that this is “Haggeston Baths”. It closed in 2000, due to underfunding and neglect. Many were sad and they protested. In November 2017 Hackney Council accepted a proposal to redevelop the building. But it will not be a pool any more. Here is the Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, writing on the Hackney website November 28th 2017: 

“Hackney Council has chosen a preferred bidder to refurbish and redevelop the Haggerston Baths building. The agreement to lease will allow Castleforge Partners to apply for listed building consent and planning permission for a scheme to incorporate space for businesses, shops and a café, as well as community uses such as a clinic, health centre, day care centre or public hall.”

Mr Glanville continues:

“I know that local residents were keen to restore the swimming pool, so the council spent the best part of a year negotiating with a bidder whose proposals included a pool. As I said when we consulted on the shortlist, we could not get the reassurances we needed that the scheme with a pool would actually be delivered.”

He makes no mention of the boat. What will happen to it?

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Stone, art, in Swimmers Lane

Someone found some money for strange stone artworks, clearly referencing the pool.

Both sketches done on location, the first one about an hour, the second one 35minutes.

 

3 thoughts on “The boat on top of Haggerston Baths”

  1. Lovely sketches and I enjoyed reading your notes. I happen to live on Swimmers Lane, so have an interest. The slate sculptures I think were commissioned by the housing association that built our estate, and to me it looks like they are referencing the canal rather than the baths. Or maybe I should look closer. Current redevelopment plans for the baths would double the height of the side part of the baths, and completely overshadow our homes in Swimmers Lane. We want the building restored, but the latest plans are a worry.
    Kind regards
    Niall

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    1. Hello Niall and thankyou for the interesting information about the origin of the slate sculptures. The building is very high already so doubling the height will make it huge! I quite see why you are concerned. It is very sad that the pool will not be retained. Outrageous really. I’ve seen pictures of the inside in its heyday, it’s a magnificent structure. And we need more swimming pools!

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