Wednesday 19 January 2011

Eltham Leisure Centre set to cool jazz

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


Marion said...

I found that very interesting. I'm often in the library but have never seen the pools or (Heaven forbid) the gym.
And, yes. Thank goodness they still keep the High Street entrance open from Monday to Saturday. To anybody who has difficulty with walking, the extra trek along Archery Road is enough to deter them from using the facilities at all.
For some odd reason though, they keep that door closed on Sundays.

Raven said...

Thanks for your comments Marion. I do like the library - it's not one for academic study but it's not meant to be. It does have nice sections on local history, biography, cooking, children's and the infamous 'chick lit'

(I did a post last year a while ago on that: