I've just moved from Wandsworth to Elephant, and am missing its huge selection of quality, council-run public swimming pools. I've been searching desperately for a public pool in SE1 and have turned up nothing. I'm getting lardy and pasty through lack of exercise, and I don't want to go to a dreaded gym. Can somebody help find an affordable pool nearby?
Wow, thanks to everyone for such a quick response, and so many ideas. I think it's a shame, though, that everyone has to hunt so hard to find a pool, and even in some cases to be sneaky or plead (Guy's and St T's) or only go at restricted times. It's awful that there isn't an obvious, affordable, council-run pool within easy reach. Here's hoping that the Elephant development will include a really good public pool. On the other hand, I'm pleased so many people were community-minded enough to offer advice. I do like my new neighbourhood. Cheers.
As far as I know the battle for a public pool has already been won by Doon St at the back of the RFH. Which essentially means that there would not be an extra £10 million or whatever for a pool at the Elephant. I may be wrong but the earlier plans were for a 20 meter lap pool. Eg closer to what you might find in a gym than one suitable for children and toddlers.
If I am right it is a real shame as just about every resident consultation has highlighted the lack of access to a pool, and it is a particular problem for schools. Plus any pool has to serve a really wide area from Stockwell through to Blackfriars and pretty far south. Transport to the tip of the Waterloo peninsular is not good.
We are now using Clapham Manor pool for the kids lessons and the private Livingwell gym on Millbank during their children's hour. But the former is threatened with closure. (Plans to build a new leisure centre between Brixton and Clapham to replace Clapham Manor and Brixton Rec, a pity because though it is an old building Clapham Manor has a really nice atmosphere.) Whilst it appears that Livingwell members, or at least those without kids, have a collective allergy to kids, and there are hints that children's hour priviledges may be withdrawn. Which is a huge shame as it is a really nice pool. (If the Tate Modern does not object to members bringing kids....)
I heard somewhere that the cost to a local authority per visit to a public pool is about £12, a figure that cannot be recouped through entrance charges. Which goes some way to explaining the problem.