‘It will be like swimming in St Pancras station’: Roof is opened up at Prince of Wales Baths
EVEN on a cloudy day, rays of bright light shower the Willes Pool at the Prince of Wales Baths.
Liberal Democrat leisure chief Councillor Flick Rea said it would be “like swimming in St Pancras station” when work is complete – and from our sneak peek behind the scaffolding currently wrapped around the sports centre in Prince of Wales Road, Kentish Town you can see what she means.
This was the scene on Tuesday morning as the New Journal had another exclusive tour of the construction site.
Just as it was originally designed, light pours through the Victorian roof. As anti-Blitz blackouts were never taken down and suspended ceilings blocked the sky-lights, it is the first time since the Second World War that the pool has looked the way it was intended.
The £25million project to refurbish the 100-year-old baths is due to be finished in the autumn and the council claims the daunting task has been tackled without running over budget.
Some services may even be available during the summer holidays.
The pool closed in 2007 for a restoration which will see the two main pools retained. The learning pool is also staying and there will be aerobics and dance studios, as well as a gym.
Other local authorities have not dared to refurbish pools of this age and the restoration is almost unique in the United Kingdom.
Cllr Rea said: “I just can’t wait now for it to be open. I have to thank the contractors, Waites, who have done everything we have asked of them.
“The light that comes through from the Willes Pool is just amazing, people won’t have seen it like that before. It’s beautiful, it’s like discovering an ancient Saxon hoard.”