Grade II public leisure facility for today
The new facility will include a 25m swimming pool, learner pool, reinstated ‘vapour baths,’ Sports England standard sports hall, studio and gym including women’s only gym, and rooftop multi use games area, all within a building which has been designed to ‘Bream’ Excellent standard.
Together, these top class leisure facilities will support a varied programme of sports and activities which will enhance the health and quality of life of local people of all ages, while creating a landmark of which the community can once again be proud.
Read the Poplar Baths Regeneration storybook
Design, build, finance, maintain & operate
Guildmore was appointed to restore the baths as part of a wider regeneration project for Tower Hamlets council. In partnership with our leisure operator GLL and wider design team, we have undertaken to design, build, finance, maintain and operate the baths as a top class, affordable public leisure facility for the enjoyment of the Poplar community.
Poplar Baths Leisure
When the current Poplar Baths building opened in 1934, it set new standards in the design of civic leisure facilities and became a prototype for many similar projects around the UK.
Designed primarily as a public swimming pool, in winter the dramatic space transformed into an indoor events venue hosting theatre, cinema, dances and boxing matches.
The building remained a focal point of the Poplar community until its closure in 1986, after which it fell into disuse and was entered on English Heritage’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.
After nearly 30 years of standing empty and forlorn, Poplar Baths was officially opened to the public on August 13th by Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs.
The present Poplar Baths building opened in 1934 and remained a much loved local landmark until its closure in 1986 after a section of the ceiling fell into the pool hall. The building fell into dereliction and demolition was a real threat, but the support of the local community saw it achieve Grade II listed status on the English Heritage at Risk Register and it featured for many years on. The Grade II listing was achieved through strong community support as Poplar Baths has remained at the forefront of local interest since its relatively sudden closure.
In June 2014, Tower Hamlets Council signed an agreement with Guildmore Ltd to transform Poplar Baths into a much needed community Leisure Centre for London’s East End. The results have exceeded expectations amongst the local community, as well as bringing much needed regeneration and investment into Tower Hamlets.
Delivered as part of a wider public private partnership that also included 100 new socially let apartments and a new youth centre, the £15 million leisure centre now houses a 25m swimming pool and learner pool, restored plunge pool, a Sports England standard sports hall, large studio and gym with a women’s only area. Guildmore have also constructed a new state-of-the-art rooftop multi-use games area.
Brought back to life again to a design by Pringle Richard Sharratt Architects, working closely with Tower Hamlets Council and Historic England, the derelict London landmark has been lovingly restored, by saving and revealing the most important original features. To do this, the Guildmore team had to overcome numerous technical, structural, architectural & operational challenges.
Poplar Baths Leisure Centre supports a varied programme of sports and activities and enhances the health and quality of life for local people of all ages. This includes activities for children and adults with disabilities such as: Badminton, Gymnastics, Trampolining and Netball. Greenwich Leisure Limited’s community team aims to support, engage and increase participation by all members of the community.