Time Out says it’s the best swimming pool you’ll come across in Central London. I say it’s nice and old, refreshingly clean, and staffed with efficient and able bodied beings – so I’m also a fan.
Built in the 1930s, the Grade-II listed pool and Turkish baths is magnificent from the outset. The outside is something to really behold. It’s definitely worth getting to the building a little early just to take a little look at the outside. To use a suitably back-in-the-day phrase… they don’t make ’em like they used to. Swimming pools that in.
17 mil was recently spent on the gym, pool and spa. So you can imagine how top notch it now is.
I don’t care if I sound my age when I say this because it’s true… One of the things I love most about Ironmonger Row Baths is how clean it is. It smells of cleaning products, the surfaces are grot free and there’s no minging hairs on the floors of the changing areas.
There’s some great architecture around the place, glorious rounded alcoves set it thick stone walls, engravings on the walls, and tell-tail signs that you’re swimming in a place that is just not of this era
The huge turn of the century windows could look just as at home in an old hospital as they do lighting up the 30 meter swimming pool. But they’re fitting and help create an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue as you swim.
I guess one of the things I like about trying out new places to exercise is that it makes keeping fit interesting and fresh. What I particularly like about trying out new pools is that you can drift along willy-nilly in the lanes and really set the world to rights, just you, alone with your thoughts, burning as you move, somewhere which is so interesting inside that it keeps your mind occupied – and off the fact that you’re actually exercising (when you should be doing a thousand other things)
It’s great here if you’re swimming with a friend as lanes are big enough to swim in pairs. Also great if you have a creepy friend who wants to come along and watch while you shed as there’s a huge benched area which isn’t behind glass and doesn’t seem too far away from the pool as is sometimes the case. Or, more seriously, if you’re a parent wishing to watch your kid having a lesson.
There’s a room upstairs on the far side of the pool which has a glass wall. My friend and I spent a good deal of our time trying to figure out what the people in the room were doing. I decided it might be a moris dancing class but my friend was determined that it was some kind of drama/improvisation workshop. Watch out for it if you go and hopefully you’ll be as entertained as we were.
The address is as follows:
1-11 Ironmonger Row
Ironmonger Row Baths is a short walk from Old Street Tube Station. I’d say about 10 minutes, but it’s probably not in a really obvious location, so take a look on a full screen computer before you head out. I got directions from a group of fellas who said they were “heading that way anyway” to “build some muscle” – what they actually meant by that is they were actually heading to one of the local pubs… And you’ll pass a few on the way, they all seem like good watering holes, if I’d had time I’d definitely have swung by for one (or two) to reward myself for all my hard work…
Locals can pick up a bargain monthly pass for £17.00 -others can pick go in on pay-as-you go.
Mon – Fri 06:30 – 21:30
Sat 09:00 – 18:00
Sun 09:00 – 18:00
Here’s the website.