Seven Islands in its heyday: what we’ve lost and what we need to fight for

A supporter recently sent me the  official opening brochure from 1965 for the Seven Islands Leisure Centre (then called the Rotherhithe Baths and Assembly Hall).

With the Centre currently shut for refurbishment and its future uncertain, it is fascinating to be reminded of what it once was: a state of the art community asset with a range of facilities including the pool with three diving boards, a sun deck, steam baths and cafeteria.


Extract from the brochure showing the innovative diving boards (now lost)

Over time the facilities have degraded and the number of facilities have shrunk. It’s not clear what the current refurbishment will bring and how many years extra life it will bestow. Southwark Council has asked the leaseholders of the Canada Water Masterplan site, British Land, to identify a new location for a leisure centre.

Reading the 1965 brochure is a salutary reminder that as a community we must ensure that facilities are maintained and not allowed to be taken away from us, especially as the population of our area is set to increase.

Whether the new leisure centre being mooted for Canada Water is built on the Seven Islands site or not, as a community we must ensure that the replacement facilities are as worthy of celebrating as the original was in 1965.

Catherine Whitaker, Chair

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1 Response to Seven Islands in its heyday: what we’ve lost and what we need to fight for

  1. livepeanuts says:

    A great post, Leisure Centres with these fantastic swimming pools have been refurbished to new with great success, however if the Council wishes to renew our Centre for whatever reason, then it should be with a similar or better pool, not shorter and not less deep. . In other words we should avoid the political lie “state of the art Leisure Centre”, Seven Islands has a 1965 “state of the art” swimming pool and it is so much better than the badly designed and prefabricated cheap and nasty 25 meter pool at Elephant and Castle, which has just been built and is already too small, not being able to accommodate either all the sports which Seven Islands can host.
    Southwark has two very old Leisure Centres: Camberwell 1891 and Dulwich 1892 and are London’s oldest continuosly used baths, so a “need” to renew Seven Islands from only1965 with a much better pool, with much more modern infrastructure, would be hard to comprehend.
    Any way, we have a petition going which only needs another 200 signatures and it would be very helpful to have it completed, even though some conditions have been addressed. The signatures must be in by December 1st. 2016 so if anybody could help this would be greatly appreciated and may strengthen our position.


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