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PRS appointed to design Poplar Baths Leisure Centre

PRS have been appointed to design the Poplar Baths Leisure Centre and the Haileybury Youth Centre for Guildmore and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Tower Hamlets council have chosen Guildmore to transform historic Poplar Baths building into a brand new Leisure Centre, including 60 new flats.
The plan also includes the transformation of the existing Haileybury Youth centre at Dame Colet into a state of the art Youth Centre, where we will build a further 40 flats and a new youth centre.

The local council has selected Guildmore to restore this Grade II listed building to its former glory with a stylish and modern sports facility, which includes a new 25-metre swimming pool.

Poplar Baths opened originally in 1852, costing £10,000. Built to provide public wash facilities for the East End's poor as a result of the Baths and Washhouses Act 1846.
The ‘slipper baths’ section originally contained six baths for women in each division, 12 in the men's first-class section and 24 in the second-class. The steam and shower bath areas were behind the slipper baths and the laundry was at the rear of the building, on Arthur Street. The laundry contained 48 separate wooden washing tubs, drying equipment, ironing rooms and the uncovered water tank, erected over the boiler house, had a capacity of 24,000 gallons.
Rebuilt in 1933, the larger pool was floored over, designated the East India Hall and converted to a theatre with a seating capacity of 1,400, with a dance hall, cinema, exhibition room and sports hall, for boxing and wrestling programmes. This kept the hall active in the winter months, while the smaller pool remained in use.

At the end of the war, from 1938 until 1941, the office was used by the staff of the Borough's electricity office, and then later occupied by the Transport and General Workers Union and the Poplar Labour Party. Wartime bomb damage forced the closure of the main bath hall, which remained unglazed for several years. Poplar Baths reopened in 1947 and continued to be used as a swimming facility until 1988, when it was turned into an industrial training centre. Between 1954 and 1959, the baths were used by an average of 225,700 bathers each year.