A project to restore Poplar Baths in London, rescuing the Grade II listed site from dereliction has been recognised at the New London Architecture (NLA) Awards, winning the Conservation and Retrofit category. The restoration of the baths was part of a wider restoration project valued at £36m, which included the Haileybury Youth Centre and surrounding residential developments.

Clarkson Alliance led on project initiation, working closely with construction firm Guildmore and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets on the communications strategy. Utilising our experience in both the leisure and heritage sectors, our role included the design team appointment, cost planning and establishing a strategic programme with Tower Hamlets and our Planning and Heritage Consultants.

Originally a Victorian building, Poplar Baths was renovated and reopened to the public in 1934. The baths were built as part of a wider national strategy to improve social conditions for low income communities, and were well used.  However, following a decline in usage and maintenance, the baths closed to the public during the 1980s and fell into disrepair.

After nearly 30 years, the renovated new leisure facility was reopened to the public in summer 2016, with an impressive art deco lobby, new swimming pool, sports hall and café. Much needed residential space has also been developed as part of the wider project. The new leisure facility has been designed to reduce energy consumption and achieves a BREEAM ‘Very good’ standard.

“We are delighted to have been part of the journey to bring this ‘Building at Risk’ and important piece of Poplar back to life. Thanks to such a fantastic project, people will now be able to enjoy its facilities as well as appreciate the history and value of such a magnificent building.” Claire Brady, Historic England