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Camden’s Prince of Wales Baths get lifeline

by Caroline Wilkinson | 08 Apr 2008

After years of political wrangling, planning permission has been given for the refurbishment of Camden’s historic Victorian Prince of Wales Baths.

The £25m refurbishment will start in May.

The Baths, now known as Kentish Town Sports Centre, will retain three swimming pools while a dance studio, 125-station health suite and new changing facilities will also be added. The 33 1/3-yard Willes pool will be refurbished and the Grafton pool downsized to 25-metres with four lanes, for competitions and teaching, there will also be a separate learner pool.

Councillor Flick Rea, Camden’s executive member for culture, said: “It will soon be full steam ahead to provide the best leisure centre we can for local people, while still preserving its heritage.”

The 1901 grade II-listed building will retain many of its Victorian features. A soaring glass apex roof, discovered hidden behind a false ceiling during restoration work, will be retained and restored.

In addition, all 33 individual roofs in the various wings of the building will be overhauled, along with their original Welsh slates. Existing cast-iron fireplaces and handmade tiles will also be worked into the new scheme.

The last refurbishment was done with a lack of sensitivity in 1961 so the new work will focus on preserving historic features, while replacing mechanical and electrical machinery.

Two existing boreholes will be retained to provide a water supply for the pools and the building will have natural ventilation to meet environmental standards.

The council will pay for the restoration through the development of 14 new homes near the site.

After years of political wrangling, planning permission has been given for the refurbishment of Camden’s historic Victorian Prince of Wales Baths. The £25m refurbishment will start in May. The Baths, now known as Kentish Town Sports Centre, will retain three swimming pools while a dance studio, 125-station health suite and new changing facilities will also be added. The 33 1/3-yard Willes pool will be refurbished and the Grafton pool downsized
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