First look at restored Ironmonger Row Baths as Paralympic star Ellie Simmonds attends gala reopening

19:02 19 November 2012

Star swimmer Ellie Simmonds shows off her Paralympic medals with youngsters from Islington schools at Ironmonger Row Baths. Picture by Dieter Perry

Star swimmer Ellie Simmonds shows off her Paralympic medals with youngsters from Islington schools at Ironmonger Row Baths. Picture by Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

It’s been a long time coming and plagued by unexpected setbacks including archaeological discoveries – but a multi-million pound revamp of an iconic and much-loved Turkish baths and swimming pool is finally complete.

The main pool of Ironmonger Row BathsThe main pool of Ironmonger Row Baths

These images offer the first peek inside Ironmonger Row Baths in Finsbury following a dramatic overhaul that cost £16.5million and took 30 months to complete.

They reveal that the ageing 1931 building – which officially reopens to the public on Saturday – has been brought up to standard without sweeping away any of its charm and character.

Original features such as the wooden teak benches overlooking the main pool sit side-by-side with state-of-the-art gym equipment and even a training pool with a moving floor.

The Gazette joined a tour of the Grade II-listed site on Friday – when four-times Paralympic gold medallist Ellie Simmonds, 18, was the guest of honour at a gala opening event.

A sauna in the new spa areaA sauna in the new spa area

The champion swimmer said: “The facilities are so good, it’s amazing how it’s an old place but it’s still really modern.

“It’s a great facility for the community, not just the swimming pool, but it’s great to get the whole community involved with the gym and the Turkish baths.”

The baths, in Ironmonger Row, shut in May 2010 and were due to reopen in time for the Olympics, but the build was delayed by complications including the unearthing of medieval artefacts during work on the basement.

While the main pool has been lovingly restored and looks much as it did in the 1930s, the changes have been extensive elsewhere in the building.

The main pool of Ironmonger Row Baths photographed in 1938The main pool of Ironmonger Row Baths photographed in 1938

They include the training pool, a newly-built public laundry – complete with industrial scale ironing presses – and overhauled Turkish baths and spa area, featuring steam rooms with multicoloured, changeable lighting. The gym boasts a whopping 60 fitness and weight machines.

Cllr Troy Gallagher, a Labour member for Bunhill ward who attended the gala, said: “It’s even better than I imagined it would be and the fact they have been able to keep the old and new together is great.

“It’s a crown jewel in the local area, people have a lot of affection for it and wanted to see it renovated with care, which is what they have been done.”

While all pools in Islington offer £1 swimming for under-16s, Cllr Gallagher called for residents who live near Ironmonger Row to be given extra incentive to use the facilities. He said: “I would like to see reduced rates for local young people. We also want to ensure it’s promoted for school children and local residents and that it isn’t booked out in advance with corporate bookings, as happens with the football pitches at Finsbury Leisure Centre. We want as many local people to use the facilities as possible, both swimming pools and gym, and hopefully that can help to tackle some of the serious health issues in the area.”


Latest News Stories

Fri, 16:49
Islington Liberal Democrats chairman Nick Manners said the consultation was an an

But Labour comes back fighting over £90,000 ‘squander’ claims

Fri, 12:02
Youths stage flash mob on Islington Green

A flash mob of around 100 people descended on Islington Green at the weekend as part of a campaign to persuade all schools to adopt measures against “honour” based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

Fri, 07:00
Henry's sister Claudia Hicks speaks to the thousands of campaigners

In December, 23-year-old Claudia Hicks was devastated when her younger brother Henry was killed in a moped crash while being chased by police.

Fri, 06:30
Armed police carry the G36 Heckler-Koch rifle as standard issue. The force has been criticised for using the alias G36 to refer to an armed officer involved in a fatal operation

Police have been slammed by a watchdog for using the name of a gun as an alias for an officer involved in a fatal firearms operation.

Most read news


You won't need to fork out for groceries for a while!

Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets, prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here!

Shop till you drop!

Here’s your chance to treat yourself to a new wardrobe and a whole lot more with this MyOffers competition to win an incredible £2,500 to spend at Primark on whatever you like!

Digital Edition

Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder