GES042 - Streatham Leisure Centre & Pool
Another site with the sticky fingers of Tesco all over it. They own this site and the nearby Ice Rink, which are due for demolition.
This was one GE077 had been watching for awhile, and had tried previously with GE007, but met security, or almost did. A little while later, and living in the borough, GE077 had another solo attempt, and this time there was no security to speak of. A few days later, and GE007 and I met up outside the ice rink. We walked towards the Pool building only for our mouths to drop, as we noticed a door open and a light emitting into the ether. "Shit, too late." We went for a more casual inspection, much to the chagrin of a chap in the neighbouring property, who eyed us up quizzically. Familiar with the types, GE007 quickly realised they were squatters. We hummed and harred as to whether to nip in when they weren't looking, but not knowing who they were, opted to scan the building for other ways in. We walked around and more humming and harring was heard. Around the back I climbed up onto a low roof, and found some large glass domes through which I could see some tables and chairs piled up below. The domes weren't securely fixed, and pushing a catch to one side, we were able to move one aside. I then carefully climbed through and dropped onto a chair and then the floor. GE007 quickly followed through. We were in!
The first room we ended up in, didn't offer much in the way of sexiness, like most abandoned buildings, just stripped rooms.
We then walked out into the main Pool room, and, wow! Possibly the most gorgeous site i've seen on an explore. I don't know if this fisheye shot could ever do it justice. We found some strange short chap with long dark hair randomly messing about with a swimmer pole, he reminded me of Cousin It from the Addams Family. A couple more people appeared on the balcony quizzical as to who we were, how we got in and what we were doing. Ironic from a bunch of squatters. An older chap with long dark hair and espousing hippy vibes came up to us, and said his name was 'Feather.' Probably not his real name. He was of course American, and had been squatting in the UK for decades. He seemed cool, if somewhat suspicious of us, and was happy for us to explore.
Remains of the male changing room
Oh, erm, yes, I was merely checking the door works. Yep, all in good working order. Off to check the erm, other doors here.
Wandering around the basement, I came across a sauna and steam room. With no one else about, I hatched an idea for silliness.
Coming up from the basement, the grand open marble staircase coiled up to the first floor.
A large open room, possibly used for group exercise sessions lead off the stairs. A squatter finding plenty of room to throw his socks about. I decided to give them a wide birth.
Taken from the back end of the building from the high st. The doors on the left lead to gym rooms with cardio machines and weights. The squatters had already set up camp in both rooms.. Feather had chosen the Cardio equipment room, still replete with all the equipment.
Inside the weights room, GE066 Schwarzenegger pumping iron.
Fisheye from the high st end of the building. To lose this building would be a tragedy, nothing built these days can come close to this level of beauty.
Playing with the lines with a fisheye lens.
Some original seats, attention had been paid to the details and design here, as opposed to the hideous plastic production line crap found at most sports facilities.
Corridor leading to the reception area. Again, more attention to detail for the ambient light windows into each room.
GE007 reads up in the Kitchen area.
The last fisheye shot, I promise! It's just so amazingly beautiful I didn't want to capture a smaller part of it. It's grandeur is in it's entirety.
A squatting army, the squatters had only just moved in, and their stuff littered the reception area. Luckily for the neighbours there were a number of large speakers. They would be moved on only a month later.
"Welcome to Streatham Leisure Centre, how may I help you?" Paraphrasing the iconic 'Brittas Empire' receptionist, Carol.