Subterranean skate and BMX park created in renovated Victorian bath house

by Kim Megson | 08 Mar 2016

A BMX and skate park has opened within an old Victorian bathing house beneath the seafront in the British town of Hastings.

Source Park is formed of a main park, a plaza and a skating shop in the 1870s White Rock Baths building, which once housed the town’s Turkish Baths and smoking rooms – a popular destination for the country’s first seaside tourists.

Since the baths closed, the building has, over the years, been home to a cinema, a swimming pool and an ice rink. However, it closed its doors in the 1990s and lay derelict and hidden from view underground.

Skating and biking retailer Source BMX, which previously operated out of an old church, approached Hastings Council and the Foreshore Trust – which provides grants for voluntary and community groups – about saving the building and transforming into a skating complex for the town.

“The whole building needed a full renovation – there was no power, no plumbing and the whole thing leaked like a sieve,” said Source BMX in a statement. “In fact the entire basement was designed to flood to provide water for the baths, which would then be heated. A stream runs through the building from the cliff, and water is pumped out to sea when it reaches a certain level.

“We had to do some serious drilling, plumbing and ingenious pumping to get the old pool area dry enough for the wooden ramps, which were then lowered via a crane in sections through the hatch on the beach.”

The complex’s main park features a mixture of bowls, transfers and wall rides, as well as ledges and rails. A cafe, arcade and 360 degree spectator area have also been constructed. Source Park’s smaller skate zone, The Plaza, occupies the opposite end of the building, where a women-only swimming pool stood in the Victorian era.

Both facilities hosts lessons, open sessions and special community events.

A shop for equipment and accessories is located in the old smoking house and includes restored Victorian features such as mosaic pillars and antique brass hand rails.

An outdoor garden space set in the building’s seafront courtyard will open later this year.

Source BMX collaborated on the project with sports and leisure architects Saville Jones and construction firms Dave Fuller Engineering and Jake Robbins Vintage Engineering, alongside many local people and businesses.

The cost of the project was reportedly around £1.2m (US$1.78m, €1.6m) and Source BMX have an initial 10-year lease on the property.

Other innovative skating facilities to have opened recently include a glow-in-the-dark park in Liverpool and an art-covered skate zone in an abandoned Spanish church.

Subterranean skate and BMX park  skating  Source Park  Source BMX  architecturem design  Victorian bath house 
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A BMX and skate park has opened within an old Victorian bathing house beneath the seafront in the British town of Hastings. Source Park is formed of a main park, a plaza and a skating shop in the 1870s White Rock Baths building, which once housed the town’s Turkish Baths and smoking rooms – a popular destination for the country’s first seaside tourists. Since the baths closed, the building has,
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The facility had to be pumped of water to create a space dry enough for the wooden ramps / Source Park
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company profile
Company profile: Alliance Leisure Services Ltd
The company’s core business is the provision of facility development and support for local authorities, educational establishments and leisure trusts that want to improve or expand the leisure products and services they offer.
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