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GES069 - Ilford Swimming Bath, London

Ilf0rd Swimming Baths were opened in 1931, with 1 large and 1 smaller pool. According to notes visible in the baths, it closed it's doors at the end of September 2008. It was considered to expensive to repair, and closed.

On a warm sunny July day, I met GE015 and GE016 at a nearby rail station, and we headed to the baths. After getting into the site and looking for a handy entrance. I saw an opened window, and popped my head in to an area with pumps and boilers. Inside the room was a guy helping himself to stuff to sell. As we found a way in to the main building, we could here voices coming from the main pool. As we walked up the steps, there was an obese kid around 12 or so running about, and two large East European looking chaps stripping copper from wires. A little nervous I stuck closely to the others, who stuck closely to me. I was the one carry £2k+ of camera and lenses.

I got around to the smaller of the pools.

I found GE015 and GE016 (also a Spaniard) were playing football with a toilet flotation ball.

After clearing some crap out of the pool, including a long piece of split rubber piping (containing cockroaches, eurghhh!). I joined in with the footy playing. But under the glass it soon become pretty sweaty. A mouse had fallen into the pool, and not managed to find away out.

I went to the deep end, which when you're 6'4" isn't very deep.

It was then upstairs, to the gym areas. There were some exercise machines left behind, and begging for some pose shots on.

I then went to pump some iron in the weights area. There wasn't anything to challenge my man of steel physique, so I left.

I went looking for the others, and found them scampering around on the roof.

To one side, through an open window, was the projection booth, covered in foul pigeon crap. Looking through the hole, I noticed that the metal thieves had left.

We went back inside, and downstairs to the canteen, the brightly coloured wall mural promoting chocolate sweets to kids in a health facility. Hmmm.

Into the Reception area, and two rather scary receptionists, I think I preferred Carol from the Brittas Empire.

I Swimming Baths, welcome to hell. And that's not a reference to the gym or Health Suite, on the first floor by the way.

We then passed through back into the main pool, now bereft of thieves. Again I spent 10minutes or so throwing fizzy drink bottles, dead pigeons, till rolls and endless bits of stripped pvc piping out of the pool. We then found a football, and had a brilliant time knocking it about. Give a ball to a man, and see the boy come out.

Give men floatation rolls, and you'll get the willy waving teenager.

Hot and sweaty, we called it a day, and left the building. A wedding party was arriving in a car park, making our exit dodgy, so we hid around a corner, where we spotted this nice painting

I looked through the window into the boiler house, and the thief from earlier had gone, so i popped in.

This looked like WWII era typography, so I'm guessing it's from then, although it might be something for an emergency chlorine leak.

Upstairs was a collection of random objects strewn about. These places are rarely abandoned with grace.

And with that, I re-joined the others, and we left. A quick look at a derelict area across the street that might have been part of the centre at one point, and we parted ways. GE015 was to meet up with me again that evening for a mutual friends birthday drinks, GE016 was to make the most of his time here with his girlfriend.

Gracias amigos.