Since 2015 I have been a Trustee of the Lewisham Building Preservation Trust, serving as Treasurer and Secretary. The Trust aims to identify and help preserve sites of architectural significance across the London Borough of Lewisham. Over the past few years our main focus has been the Ladywell Playtower – a remarkable Venetian Gothic swimming baths built in the 1880s but left empty since the 2000s. The baths were added to the Victorian Society’s ‘Top Ten Endangered Buildings’ list in 2015, a move which prompted the council to find a development partner to bring the site back into use.
The Trust played an integral role in this process, and at the start of 2017 a competition was launched to find a new use for the building. Over 20 submissions were received, with four asked to develop more detailed proposals. The Trust’s main role in the competition was to ensure the conservation needs of the building were addressed and that the local community was consulted every step of the way. In November 2017 Curzon Cinemas, working with developers Guildmore and architects Pringle Richards Sharratt, were announced as the winners.
Over the next few years the Playtower will be transformed into a 3 screen 220 seat cinema with restaurants and facilities for the local community.
In 2018 the Trust commissioned local filmmaker Dave Stock to produce a short film gathering together memories of Ladywell Baths. You can watch a trailer for the film on YouTube.