Have you ever wondered what the inside of the Eltham Leisure Centre looks like (obviously for those who've not been) - go on, you know you have.
Well, I came across this bizarre little cool-jazz-soundtracked video clip of a walk around the Eltham Leisure Centre. It was obviously taken around the time of the opening a few years ago, and well before the infamous fire at the Centre in February 2010 closed it down for a few months. Well, it's all open now (though they took their time; the car park's only been open a couple of weeks) and I'm back to spending several hours a week there, taking my children to their swimming classes, borrowing books and DVDs (fantastic for Bollywood DVDs, I think I'm their only Bollywood customer, hooray), eating in the kind-of-okay Cafe (the kind where one hard-pressed member of staff at this sub-contracted-out cafe does both 'cooking' and serving). Sadly I don't have the free time to hone this body down to further perfection at the gym, as if further perfection were possible (ahem...).
The Centre has a fairly utilitarian look and, if you look up above, the way that the galleried walkways are set out give it a panopticon feel. Despite it's Foucaultian elements, I really like the Centre - it feels clean, bright and efficient (mostly). In fact, I've developed a great affection for it. Libraries do that, don't they. Make you feel very warm inside. I really like that all the various services are available under one roof - I can have 15 minutes of the best part my week (in the library) while the kids are swimming. But I also like that the 'old library' has retained its original (?Carnegie-era) character, including the infamous historical original doorway onto Eltham High Street (it was the subject of much debate at the time whether it should remain usable - it did, hooray.) It's all quite pertinent given the current threat to so many of the country's libraries due to cuts to Council budgets by the the Tory-led coalition government. More on that another time.
The video clip is attributed to 'new labour' and 'elthamlabour'. Just thought someone out there might be interested in this - it's the second clip on the list...
Eltham Leisure Centre, 2 Archery Road, Eltham London SE9 1HA
020 8921 4344