New Highbury pool officially opened after devastating fire

Islington Mayor Cllr Janet Burgess cuts the ribbon to officially open the new Highbury Pool

Islington Mayor Cllr Janet Burgess cuts the ribbon to officially open the new Highbury Pool - Credit: ©2021 Steve Bainbridge

The pool at Highbury Leisure Centre was officially opened today (May 18) by Islington's mayor Janet Burgess, nearly three years after it was hit by a devastating fire.  

The centre in Highbury Crescent was badly damaged by a blaze and its roof was completely gutted in 2018, just 18 months after it was given a £2.5m refurbishment.

Contractors working on the roof of the GLL-run facility were to blame, according to the London Fire Brigade.

Since then, Islington Council and social enterprise GLL - which manages leisure centres, courts and pitches across London under its Better brand - have worked with contractors on planning, building and restoring the pool hall back to its former glory.

The new pool hall boasts a six lane, 25-metre main pool as well as a 10.44m by 9.47m teaching pool, with a glazed spectator gallery.

Although the first visitors to the pool were welcomed in last month, the easing of Covid-19 restrictions this week allowed for the new pool to be officially opened.

Cllr Burgess said: “We know how important Highbury Pool is to the local community, and how much devastation and sadness the fire there caused.

“Local people deserve the best and, alongside GLL, we have worked tirelessly to rebuild the pool hall to the highest possible standard.

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“With Covid-19 lockdown restrictions easing and life starting to return to normality, we are delighted that local people and customers will be able to enjoy using the new pool hall.”

The council's health chief Cllr Nurullah Turan added: “Highbury is one of the busiest leisure centres in London, and we know that the pool hall has been sorely missed since the fire. 

"Thanks to the incredible hard work of the council, GLL and contractors, users are now able to enjoy an even better pool hall than before.”

All the new facilities are fully accessible throughout, with disabled changing facilities and pool hoists to aid access for all users.

Highbury Leisure Centre is also befitting from a refurbished gym and a new functional fitness area.

Customers are asked to book a timeslot using the Better UK app or website.

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