Poplar Baths Leisure Centre

Tower Hamlets, London

Pringle Richards Sharratt were appointed to design this new leisure centre at Poplar Baths in Tower Hamlets, East London. Our proposals also included the transformation of the existing Haileybury Youth centre at Dame Colet into a state of the art Youth Centre.

The Grade II listed Poplar Baths in London’s East End, on the English Heritage ‘Buildings at Risk’ List before the project commenced, was originally designed by the Borough Engineer Harley Heckford between 1929-34. An extract from the ‘Architect and Building News’ in January 1934 stated ‘Poplar was the first building in Britain to develop the idea for a low cost civic building and it stand above its contemporaries in architectural importance: ‘One of the finest and best equipped baths of comparable purpose in this country.’

Working closely with English Heritage in the development of a Conservation Management Plan for the building as a whole, an essential understanding of the building's significance both on a local and national level allowed us to develop a design that creates a new facility with a 4 court sports hall, community pool, gym and spa to be incorporated in this ‘grandiose Art Deco’ building with its Egyptian style front elevation on East India Dock Road. 

It is the interior which gives the building its special interest with its hyperbolic concrete arches and stepped clerestory windows that have been refurbished to create the multi-use sports hall and event space, retaining the stage and entry sequence.