Showing posts with label swimming pool. Show all posts
Showing posts with label swimming pool. Show all posts

26 January 2019

Litter Tidy Up - 2nd Feb 2019

Volunteers from the Forest Hill Society will be tidying the green space beside Forest Hill Swimming Pool on Saturday, 2nd February, from 10am. We would welcome others to lend a hand and complete the task quickly.

Work is expected to last less than one hour.We have arranged to have litter pickers and garbage sacks to help us in this task, but we recommend that anybody joining in brings their own gloves.

27 May 2016

Forest Hill Pools – Something for Everyone

Public swimming pools have existed on the current site in Forest Hill since 1885 though much has changed —  there is no longer first and second class swimming pools or a separate entrance for women!

After closing in 2006 for health and safety reasons, it took pressure from the Forest Hill Society and other local groups to get the Pools re-built and re-opened in September 2012. Now run by the Fusion Corporation on behalf of Lewisham Council, the Pools have gone from strength to strength, with individual memberships now exceedsing 2,000. The Pools play host to local clubs, support several schools and represent a vital community hub.

John Firmin spoke with Ben Weldegabriel (pictured in the centre), the Pool’s Customer Relations Manager to find out more about our local leisure centre.

Ben has worked with Fusion for seven years and before coming to Forest Hill worked at ‘Wavelengths’ in Deptford.  For Ben, a key role for the Pools is making exercise fun. The Pools and the associated facilities must be easy to access and use.  There is, for example, an after school club. And the service is tailored to the customer’s needs, whether they want to use the facilities daily or just occasionally. Families are encouraged to join with Family Choice, which offers the full range of facilities for adults, and swimming lessons and ‘soft play’ for children.

The 25 metre and learner swimming pools have timetables to cater for the many different groups that use them.  Swimming is free for under 16s, over 60s and people with disabilities.  There are sessions assigned to women only and families.  The Pools play host to the Saxon Crown Swimming Club, an underwater hockey team and a Triathlon Club, all of which welcome new members. 

Upstairs, there is a modern gym and two exercise studios for classes including yoga, Pilates, indoor cycle, Zumba and body conditioning for all abilities.  The studios also host exercise classes for people with heart conditions referred by their GPs and for over 60s.  Personal training is available or you can just do your own thing. Either way, a full induction is provided for every new user to help to ensure their health and safety.

Forest Hill Pools doesn’t cater only for exercise; it has a  community room which is available for hire, and the facilities can be used to host birthday parties, with tailored packages making use of the swimming pools and the studios.

Becoming a member at Forest Hill Pools enables you to use other Fusion-run leisure facilities in Lewisham. Locally, these include badminton courts at Forest Hill Boys School, squash courts at the Bridge, in Kangley Bridge Road, the Ladywell running track and spa facilities at Glassmill Leisure Centre in Lewisham which includes sauna, steam and ice rooms.

How about setting yourself a personal goal this summer?  Forest Hill Pools will be running a ‘Swim School’ - an intensive course of swimming lessons, and classes in how to become a life saver.

Whatever your fancy, there is something for you at Forest Hill Pools. 

Article by John Firmin

19 March 2015

Funding awarded for improvements in Dartmouth Road

The bid for £113,000 from the Mayor of London’s High Street Fund has been successful. The bid was submitted by SEE3, V22, and Lewisham Council with the support of the Forest Hill society.

The funding will help improve public space on Dartmouth Road and will help to develop a long-term cultural strategy. Plans include animating the underused spaces outside Forest Hill library, Louise House and Forest Hill pools, to ensure they are a key feature of the place.

V22 have also received Arts Council funding to renovate the old laundry at Louise House and the rear garden. The plan is that in a year from now there will be an integrated space around the library, Louise House and the pools that will provide a welcoming area for a range of events, markets and other community activities.

This grant adds to the £600,000 from Transport for London for pedestrian and road improvements from the library to the junction with the South Circular. The initial concept design work is now underway to see how the public realm can be improved with views being sought on areas such as parking arrangements.

More details from the South London Press.

03 January 2014

Underwater Hockey at Forest Hill Pools

A new club is being launched for underwater hockey at Forest Hill Pools with a free have-a-go session at 7.15pm on Friday 10th January 2014.
Meet in the lobby of Forest Hill Pools

Underwater hockey is played with a lead puck and a short stick; swimmers wear a mask, snorkel and fins. We are set up to train absolute beginners and supply all the kit for the session. It has all the virtues of swimming to keep fit but is actually fun! Here is a promo video:

11 December 2012

SEE3 Forest Hill Festive Fair , Sat 15th December , 10am–5pm

Forest Hill Pools will go all Christmassy on Saturday 15 December.

From 10am-5pm the market, just outside the main entrance to the pools, will showcase the best local talent, offering hand-crafted trinkets, wooden toys, jewellery, candles, ceramics, vintage accessories and Christmas tree decorations.

Forest Hill Festive Fair poster

There will be sixteen stalls including a few local favourites. They will be selling a variety of goods from food to candles and a variety of vintage and festive goods.

Miss Poppy CakesCakes
Aga's Little DeliDeli
DoopodoopoLocals artists work
Stag & BowVintage art & images
DB FoodsSouth African foods
South London PrintsSouth London illustrations
Shop Eastern BlocCrafts from the former Eastern Bloc
B Creative & CoFestive decorations
My True light CandlesHandmade candles
BubblylicousHandmade soap
Isa Marie SkincareOrganic skincare
Mariona OteroReflector ties and cards
Solivio SoapsSoaps
Sock MonkeySock monkeys
Desnee's VintageVintage and upcycled homeware
Committee of TasteVintage homeware and flowers

Organised by the SEE3 team.

24 July 2012

Pools to open imminently

Mayor Sir Steve Bullock has just posted the following on his Facebook page
Just had a swim in the new pool in Forest Hill!!!! Its been a long struggle but worth it - the new building looks great and so does the old frontage - everyone involved is working their socks off to get it ready to open to the public in a few days time - I was there with some local school students to make sure the pool really is as good as it looks. it is!
This is great news and will be a great addition to Forest Hill.

02 June 2012

Newsletter: Pools - Just Weeks Until Re-Opening

Excitement is really building for the unofficial opening of the new Forest Hill Pools in July. Everything appears on track for a 'soft' opening that allows everything to be tested and to gradually work up to full capacity. Tiling is done, sprung floors are in and the pools are being filled. Fusion, the company that will run the pools for Lewisham, are working on activity and pools programmes and getting key staff members in place.

In order to make a real fanfare of about the Pools, to celebrate the achievement of delivering the project and to make sure that every single resident knows about it, Lewisham Council and Fusion are working on an 'official' opening on 22 September. They are planning a big event with lots of activities to include the library, local shops and businesses and hopefully The Horniman Museum. They have asked the Forest Hill Society to be involved and we are working on what we could help with that would tie in with what they are planning.

28 March 2012

Pools Update - July Opening?

At a recent meeting of the Stakeholders' group, presentations were made by Fusion Lifestyle and Willmott Dixon. The facility will be open 7am-10pm on weekdays and 7am-6pm at weekends and will include:

  • a 25m length swimming pool
  • a 16.7m length learner pool
  • a 54 piece, state-of-the-art fitness suite with 20% of the equipment being IFI accredited. The Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) is a programme supporting the fitness industry to become more inclusive - catering for the needs of disabled and non-disabled people, as well as raising physical activity participation levels.
  • two studios
  • a café area. Fusion are currently tendering for the café operator. They have advertised through local and national press and received 14 expressions of interest, of those 8 have submitted pre-qualification questionnaires (the first phase of selection) and will be invited to submit a full tender brief on how they will manage the café. Fusion stated their desire to work with a partner who will actively engage with the local community.
  • a community room for hire
  • spectator viewing and
  • an exhibition area

Fusion's presentation included provisional schedules for the pools. These can be viewed on our Flickr account - Blogger refuses to display them correctly. Please feedback any comments to

The timetable for the main pool can be found here. One lane will usually available at all times during a general swim session for lane swimming.

The timetable for the Learner Pool can be found here. The community sessions are a new addition for Forest Hill Pools which have been created to allow community groups such as disabled groups a slot on the timetable to use their local leisure centre. These sessions will be open to the community and Fusion Lifestyle would like groups to come forward who are interested in using them. If you email us, we will forward your email to Fusion.

Fusion Lifestyle also asked for any opinions on how the studios should be used to be fedback

Two other items were also discussed. A specialist design company called Atelier has been commissioned by Lewisham to design a permanent exhibition or artwork reflecting the history of the old Forest Hill Pools which will be displayed in the new building. Stakeholders were encouraged to bring forward any old pictures/ photographs or information they may have of the building or the area that could be contributed to this work. Contact Tim Andrew for further details.

Finally, the Council wish to go out to tender for an organisation to take on Louise House. They are open to innovative ideas on how to feasibly develop the site whilst retaining a community focus to the site.

The Council are hoping to open the building by July 2012, with an official opening ceremony on 22nd September 2012. Photos of the current progress can be found on Lewisham's, Willmott Dixon's and Forest Hill Society's Flickr accounts.

08 December 2011


Our years of campaigning are now visibly evident. On 28 October Forest Hill’s new pools were ‘topped out’ at a ceremony to mark the end of the main construction phase. The Society was invited to attend as a member of the Stakeholder Group. In a somewhat pagan ritual, Steve Bullock, our Mayor, Councillor Chris Best, Lewisham Cabinet Member for Community Services, Mark Tant, MD of builders Willmott Dixon and Ivan Parkinson, Finance Director of Fusion, poured salt, oil, water and corn into a carefully prepared recess in the concrete upper floor of the building.

We were assured that the offerings would be removed prior to filling the recess in order to ensure structural integrity.

We were surprised to find both of the new pools full of water – apparently this was to test for leaks. At a subsequent meeting of the Stakeholder Group, we were shown all the surface finishes that were to be used in the building. The main pools hall will largely be finished in a traditional pale blue colour with white tiling in the pool and dark blue lane markings.

The building is progressing well and should be sealed from the elements by the end of the year. Current plans are for completion by late spring with opening expected no later than early autumn 2012. (Fingers crossed that it will be ready for the Olympics!)

The stakeholder group had a presentation from Fusion about their management plans for Lewisham‘s leisure facilities in general, and Forest Hill in particular. As a company which is also a registered charity they are committed to returning any profits they make to the benefit of the sporting facilities they manage. They have considerable experience of managing local leisure facilities including Brockwell Lido, Dulwich Baths and Peckham Pulse. With a 15 year contract to manage most of Lewisham‘s facilities, they will be looking after more than 50 facilities in the area.

02 November 2011

Forest Hill Pools Topping Out

Last week saw the Topping Out Ceremony for Forest Hill pools, with the main structure now completed. The project was 'topped out' by the ceremonial pouring of some wine, oil, corn and salt into a suitably prepared recess in the concrete of the first floor.

The pools have been filled with water for testing purposes, as can be seen in the photo. There is still lots of work to do with the building project expected to be completed in the Spring and the pools open to the public in September 2012.

More photos of the construction process can be seen on Flickr.

09 July 2011

The Pools Progress

As the Forest Hill Pools are replaced over the next year or so, we’ll hear from members of the team involved in the improvements. This issue we speak to Bill Duke, structural engineer on the Forest Hill Pool’s rebuild

What is your role on the pools project?
I am the structural engineer – which basically means making sure it doesn’t fall down!

What sort of projects do you normally work on?
All sorts of developments including schools, hospitals, factories, retail and leisure projects. This is the fifth pool I’ve done; the last one was the Corby East Midlands International Pool which won a number of awards. It will be an Olympic training venue.

What do you think is the most exciting aspect?
I think any project like this has a major positive impact on the local community and playing a key role is very rewarding

What will be your personal biggest challenge?
As structural engineers we must deliver the design and details to meet the build program and this is always a challenge, particularly on a ‘wet leisure’ type project

How much involvement will you have in the pools project during the construction?
I’ll visit site every two to four weeks and at key steps. Our team will have a heavy involvement in the early stages whilst the building gets off the ground.

What sort of projects are you most interested in?
I’ve done many projects but I find the most challenging are the most rewarding. They are not necessarily ‘high profile’ jobs. I led a team of up to twenty over a two year period in the design and construction of a major factory extension. Contractors worked round the clock to complete it and it was quite invigorating.

Which of the facilities in the new pools complex would you be most likely to use?
Definitely the swimming pool!

15 March 2011

Drop in to the Swimming Pool

Taken from Forest Hill Pools Resident Newsletter - March 2011

Following on from the ‘Stakeholder Presentation’ which took place on 9th December, which we believe was well received, two further ‘Drop-In Sessions’ for local residents have been arranged for 22nd March & 5th April 2011 between 5pm & 7pm.

This is an opportunity for you to meet the Willmott Dixon team and ask any questions you may have about the building works. A representative from Lewisham Council will also be there to answer any other questions you may have on the scheme.

The latest plans and Computer Generated Images of the new building will be on display for residents to view. Both sessions will take place in the 1st Floor Meeting Room in Louise House, which we are using as temporary office accommodation for the duration of the project and afford an excellent view of the site. The sessions are open to all local residents and there is no requirement to pre-book ... please just ‘drop-in’!

17 January 2011

Work to Begin on Forest Hill Pools

On Monday 21 February, Sir Steve Bullock and Jim Dowd MP will attend a 'sod-turning' ceremony at Forest Hill Pools.

As many of your will know it has been a long and bumpy journey to get to this point, but this ceremony finally marks the beginning of the first stage of building the new leisure centre.

16 December 2010

Forest Hill Pools move into Final Stages

First Class Victorian Pool in Forest Hill

Lewisham Council has now appointed the principal building contractor for the new Swimming Pools. Construction firm, Wilmot Dixon, will take over the site early in the new year. This is very exciting news at a difficult financial time for the Council  and confirms the final go-ahead.

Hilary Renwick, Lewisham’s Head of Cultural Services, has confirmed that construction will start towards the end of January. The current timetable sees the main bulk of the building completed in May 2012, with completion and testing of the services from June to August.  The Council is hopeful that the new facility will open to the community in September 2012. This is a complex site and there are a number of areas which could delay completion, but it is still exciting stuff and fits in very well with the end of the Olympics.

A further piece of good news is that the Council has invited all those on the stakeholder group to an initial meeting with Wilmott Dixon so that they can meet the Contractor's team and enjoy a celebratory drink.  Those of us on the Stakeholder Group very much look forward to continuing to work with the Council and its design team during the construction phase and hope to be able to influence the way that the building will be run and managed.

We will provide regular updates on progress from the New Year.  We are planning a series of interviews with different people involved during the project - from the architect to the site manager - so do let us know if there is a particular member of the team you are interested in hearing from.

Louise House

The other good news is that the contractors have requested to use Louise House, the former Girls’ Industrial Home, as their site office during the build. It may not be the most glamorous of uses for Louise House but it may have some long term benefit. The company says the parts of the building they use would be returned “in the same or better condition”. Importantly it would keep it in use and heated over two winters while the community continues to work with the Council to find a financially viable use for the building.

On further questioning, Wilmott Dixon confirmed that its tender includes redecoration of the areas occupied, services testing and enhancement, with Fire Certification and an allowance for building rates, service connections and consumption costs.

The old laundry block at the back will not be used.

10 December 2010

Pools Update from the Stakeholders Group

Last night (09/12/10), we had our first meeting with the team from Willmott Dixon, the construction firm selected to build the new Forest Hill Pools. Penelope Jarrett reports.

The team of four senior managers gave us a presentation starting with the 148 year history of the firm, pictures of pools they have built previously and other Lewisham buildings they have worked on: Hither Green Primary School, Crossways Academy and Goldsmith’s College.

In addition to the normal project team, they have a leisure sector specialist and they assured us they will be working closely with the architects, Roberts Limbrick. Lewisham Council
will also be retaining independent experts to monitor the building services.

The team presented diagrams showing how the phases of the build will progress. The enabling works will involve moving office workers into the first floor of Louise House, which they will refurbish to make it usable (roof and window repairs, making the electrics safe). There will still need to be temporary structures in front of Louise House to hold the toilets, showers, drying area and canteen for the operatives. These are too specialised to fit into Louise House, and it was also thought inappropriate to have muddy boots going in and out of the building all day.

Willmott Dixon told us they pride themselves on the good quality of the welfare provision
they make for their staff, a good health and safety record, their sustainable construction methods and engagement with the local community.

Sustainable construction includes working to an Energy Performance Certificate rating of B or above, using recycled materials in the building itself and diverting 85% of the waste from landfill (aim is for 100% in 2012). Some months after handover, they do a post-occupancy evaluation, which includes ensuring the occupants know how to get the best out of the building in the most efficient way.

Engagement with the local community includes communicating with local residents (e.g. Derby Hill Crescent, Salcombe House) over when work will be taking place and who to contact if there are problems, providing work experience for local schools, offering to support an associated community project (they will be looking for ideas here) and willingness to attend Forest Hill Society meetings if invited.

Expected Timetable
Commence 4/1/11, complete 23/4/12 i.e. 68 weeks.

This will be broken down into:
4 weeks - Enabling work
24 weeks - Demolitions and alterations to existing building
18 weeks - Substructure works
18 weeks - Superstructure and envelope works
25 weeks - Pool plant installation
36 weeks - Finishes
42 weeks - Swimming pool fitting out and testing
30 weeks - External works and landscaping

Mathematicians amongst you will have noticed that this adds up to considerably more than 68 weeks so I assume some of these activities will be taking place alongside each other!

After this date, Lewisham will supervise fit-out and commissioning in partnership with whomever has won the tender to run the new pools. They have already begun the tendering process and have a shortlist of interested parties who will be invited to submit business plans next year. They are optimistic about the quality of the tenders, and an opening date in the summer of 2012.

Meanwhile, they are thinking of placing information displays in the library and arranging further meetings and site visits for stakeholders if interested.

Penelope Jarrett
Forest Hill Society representative on the stakeholder group

08 September 2010

Forest Hill Pools Update

Mounds of rubble lie on the site of the pocket park. Buddleia sprouts from the superintendant’s house. Thomas Ardwinckle’s Forest Hill Baths are no more. But in late 2012 we will have two new pools, a gym, a community room and a cafe on the site.

Planning permission was granted on 22nd July at Lewisham Town Hall. Concerns remain in a number of areas. Local residents are worried about the impact of pool users parking on surrounding streets. The internal lift is planned to be one person only. The pedestrian versus coach access at the front entrance is confusing and the mass of plant block beside the superintendent's house will probably intrude unattractively on the streetscape.

But in spite of these problems, the Forest Hill Society believes that this is easily the best proposal Lewisham Council has put forward since they first started consulting on the issue in 2005. It is on the better site (not Willow Way!) and we will have two pools (only one was proposed in 2005). The conservationists are in part satisfied by the retention of the superintendent's house which, together with Louise House and Forest Hill Library forms the Victorian “Face of Forest Hill” and behind this façade, we will have a modern facility built to twenty-first century standards.

01 July 2010

Forest Hill Pools - We're getting closer

Following two major steps forward, everything is on schedule for the 2012 opening! In April, parts of the old building were demolished. Then in May, Lewisham submitted the planning application.

The application is on the Lewisham website and the Committee is likely to make a decision on it in mid July. Following the April consultation exercise the main changes are to the frontage material, and to the landscaped areas along Dartmouth Road and the former pocket park. As we had expected, the building will contain:

  • A main pool and a separate learner pool
  • A café overlooking part of the retained green space and Dartmouth Road
  • A gym with a large fitness suite and two studio spaces
  • A community room 

Overall we are pleased and have registered the Society’s support for the plans.  We have raised some concerns including: the height and ‘blockiness’ of the café; planting on the frontage; and access. We are particularly concerned about the coach pull-in at the front of the building and the amount of space left for pedestrians. 

Some of the nice ideas for getting light into the building and between spaces may have disappeared, possibly due to cost cutting to keep the building within budget. 
There’s also a missed opportunity because there is no proposal to connect the space in front of the three Victorian buildings together – the pools, Louise House and the Library.  But overall, we are confident it will be a good building and an asset to Forest Hill and hope that it can be further improved. 

Pending planning permission, the next steps will be detailed design work and the appointment of a contractor to build it. With luck, the building project will start before Christmas. 

[Ed: The Pools will be going before Planning Committee B on 22 July]

16 June 2010

Public Meeting - Forest Hill Pools

There will be a public meeting to discuss the planning application for Forest Hill Pools because Lewisham council have received 14 objections. The majority of these objections relate to parking issues, but there are also some objections to the size and design of the extension which houses the Café and air handling equipment.

The meeting will be held at the Christian Fellowship Centre, 39 Honor Oak Road, SE23 3SH at 7 pm on Tuesday, 22nd June 2010.

Tuesday's meeting will be a chance for the developer to explain their plan, followed by a question and answer session. Councillor Philip Peake will chair the meeting and the developer will be represented by Savills (Lewisham's agent).

The aim of the meeting is to see how the concerns of the objectors can be mitigated. While our own submission was in support of the application, it did express some reservations about the scale, bulk and design of the extension as well as concerns for pedestrian safety in the coach drop off and disabled parking area among other points. Local residents are also understandably concerned by the lack of on site parking.

02 June 2010

Planning Application for Forest Hill Pools

The Forest Hill Society has submitted a response to the planning application for Forest Hill Pools.

We have been through the application in some detail and write in support of the proposals. To a great extent we think this is a very good scheme, in a good location, and in particular:
  1. The general arrangement of the two pools works well and appears to allow a good level of natural side lighting into the main activities of the building
  2. The retention of the superintendents’ house is a strong element of the scheme and helps to tie together the three ‘civic’ buildings of the Pools, the library and Louise House
  3. The approach to the scheme from Forest Hill Town Centre is effective and the two entrances are well located.....

You can read the full response here.