POOLSITE HISTORY, 2012
Activities in the Diamond Jubilee Gardens
DEAR LIDO - Dance and workshops
Performances on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August at 2pm and 4pm
Workshops run from 12pm to 3pm Monday 30 July to Friday 3 August
Choreographer Rosie Whitney-Fish will be taking up residency in the former Twickenham Lido site for one week, offering vintage tea parties, community bunting, site-specific dance performances, workshops and much more.
Inspired by the stories from former lido users, Dear Lido will take you on a journey through time to the heyday of Riverside life. Drop in to join in with activities and learn about the history of the lido through stories and memories of days gone by. The residency will culminate in performances of a brand-new site specific dance-theatre production created and directed by Rosie Whitney-Fish on 4 and 5 August.
Council's news release
9 September: Band Stand Marathon
15 September: Theatre Workshops
16 September: Art Exhibition
Diamond Jubilee Gardens family fun day. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
Just part of the entertainment: stilt walker and unicyclist, and the one-man band. Photos © Yvonne Hewett.
Memories of Twickenham Riverside project display. Photo © Yvonne Hewett
To learn more about the Memories of Twickenham Riverside initiative, see their website
23 June 2012, Official Opening of the Diamond Jubilee Gardens
Princess Alexandra, accompanied by the Mayor, Cllr Rita Palmer, was welcomed by the Leader of the Council, Lord True. The Princess unveiled the plaque marking the planting of the black poplar to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee, and to mark the opening of much of the poolsite into free public use, for the first time.
As well as new fencing and planting, part of the area that was the pool has been laid in grass. Part is paved for events and activities. The former Café Sunshine has been extended, with accessible toilets and additional seating space outside. Despite the rain and the unseasonably cold weather, a crowd of 200 invited guests very much enjoyed the event, hopefully the first of many on the poolsite.
Princess Alexandra, the Mayor Cllr Rita Palmer, and the borough's Poet Laureate at the opening of the Diamond Jubilee Gardens, Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
Watching the unveiling. The black poplar, planted to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee, is in the centre. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
Princess Alexandra tours the Diamond Jubilee Gardens, Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
6 June 2012: Twickenham Riverside Jubilee Festival
A good time was had by all on Saturday. The Festival continued until 17 June. Festival programme and map (.pdf)
From the sun terrace. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
The Embankment, pedestrianised. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
2 June 2012: Twickenhenge revisited
Early planting - just hoping for some rain, 2 June 2012. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
28 May 2012: Jubilee Gardens take shape
Low railings are being installed around the perimeter, and the children's play area has been screened by a hedge. Lines are being laid, probably to delineate strips of turf.
From the Eel Pie Bridge, 28 May 2012. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
From the service road, 28 May 2012. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
25 May 2012: Coming soon: Twickenham Riverside Jubilee Festival -
Friday 1st to Sunday 17th June
Brought to you by Twickenham Alive, the Festival includes Charlie Shore's Regatta, Dragon Boat Racing, St Mary's Church fete, and events and activities on the Embankment, in York House Gardens, in Church Street, and around Twickenham.
Festival programme and map (.pdf)
6 May 2012: Twickenhenge?
The planting in front of the poolsite, which had grown quite magnificent since the old poolsite frontage was demolished in 2005, has now vanished.
After: the frontage on the Embankment, 6 May 2012. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
Before: the frontage on the Embankment, 11 March 2012. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
30 April 2012: Work Continues on Poolsite
The old poolsite on 30 April. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
11 April 2012: TRTG Planning Application for Poolsite Buildings
The Twickenham Riverside Terrace Group has lodged a planning application 12/0719/FUL for the remaining buildings on the poolsite. The plans call for renovation of the buildings and the addition of an upper storey to create space for community uses. The buildings are currently empty and in a sad state, except for the Superintendent's House which is home to the charity HANDS.
The proposed appearance of the old Superintendent's house (left) and the toilets (right).
||The remaining buildings on the poolsite are:
- The old Art Deco design café with bow window
- The former "Superintendent's house" on the Embankment, which now houses the HANDS charity
- The derelict toilets (which are transposed in the drawings: the ladies' was at the front)
Layout of the proposed scheme.
Proposed uses are for a new riverside community facility including meeting spaces, gallery and potential exhibition space and shared offices for community based and social enterprise organizations.
The important part of the site, at the corner of Water Lane and the Embankment - with views upstream and downstream - will be kept as a cafe and viewing platform for all to enjoy.
There is no indication of how this work would be funded, although the council has made an undertaking to create a trust that would preserve the poolsite in public use.
The Planning Application, with supporting drawings 12/0719/FUL
Illustrations of the buildings
Twickenham Riverside Terrace Group's rationale for the scheme
Despite the Terrace Group's laudable intentions in keeping the buildings on the poolsite for the community, is regrettable that the designs for the renovations and additions are so resoundingly prosaic. There is none of the old waterfront and wharfside Twickenham, and the buildings bear no relationship to the river and the surroundings.
8 April 2012: Work Continues on Poolsite
76 days to opening! The brick planters are in place, and holes are being dug for the trees that will screen the front of the site from the Embankment.
The old poolsite on 8 April, levelled and planters in place. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
19 Feb 2012: Work Continues on Poolsite
The hoarding between the Secret Garden and the poolsite is gone. (What happened to Boris's tree, planted with such ceremony in the Secret Garden?) Another interesting sidelight: the countdown timer countdown timer (below) on the front of the Café Sunshine now says there are 134 days to the opening.
Cleaning up continues, 19 Feb 2012. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
Countdown timer on the front of the Café Sunshine, 19 Feb 2012. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
13 Feb 2012: Work on Poolsite
Clearing the ground and chopping down trees is going on apace. The countdown timer (below) on the front of the Café Sunshine says that the opening will be on Saturday 23 June - a bit after the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, but a good target to aim for.
Cleaning up, 13 Feb 2012. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
Countdown timer on the front of the Café Sunshine, 13 Feb 2012. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
131 days from 13 February - Saturday 23 June 2012! Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
8 Feb 2012: Work Begins on Poolsite
Work begins, Feb 2012. Photo © Yvonne Hewett.
||Work has begun to open up part of the derelict swimming pool site. The sign on the gate says that the playground will be closed from 3 February and a notice from the HSE says work will take 16 weeks.
The council's press release dated 3 Feb says, "Work to create an open public space and complete the first new gardens in Twickenham for a generation started this week, as the Council lives up to its promise to open Twickenham Riverside for all people to enjoy and make 2012 a year for celebration.
"Clearance of the long-derelict site of the former open-air swimming pool will be carried out by contractors appointed by the Council between February and June. During the work, the site will be closed for safety reasons and to allow contractors access and to deliver the new gardens within the short period of time.
"When the work is finished there will be a grassed area immediately behind Café Sunshine and a park space in front of the old diving board, which will be kept as a memorial to the long struggle to re-open the site.
|"A section closest to the old changing rooms would be paved to become a public square which will provide a platform for a number of activities, including musical and theatrical performance. The Council hopes this would tie in to plans for the section of the site which currently has buildings on, which will be brought forward after further consultation during the spring."
(NB this includes the old caretaker's house which accommodates HANDS, the local charity.)
Full text of the press release
Artist's impression of the Diamond Jubilee Garden
UPDATE 23 Jan 2012: Queen's Hall application refused
The reasons for refusal are set out here. They include: that the application would compromise the continued and future community use of the building; that the design's siting, design, height, bulk, scale and rearward projection of onsite parking represents an overly dominant, visually intrusive and incongruous form of development not responsive to the building's original form and design or to the setting of the site.
In addition, the refusal recommends that any future planning application for the building be submitted to the Theatres Trust, and a full photographic internal record be made and a list created of items to be salvaged, including the plasterwork over the proscenium.
5 Jan 2012: Queen's Hall up for redevelopment
Queen's Hall lies behind the shops on the river side of King Street, in the centre of Twickenham. The hall backs onto the service road that runs along the edge of the poolsite. It has a long and honourable history - it's been the council chamber, the theatre where Lillie Langtree had her debut, a dance hall, and now it's a gym and martial arts centre. Only recently have its hidden features been revealed.
Queen's Hall from the service road, Jan 2012. Photo © Yvonne Hewett. Larger pictures
Detail of frieze inside Queen's Hall. Photo © Memories of Twickenham. Larger pictures
The owners, F&C Reit Asset Management, who bought the King Street property when Dawnay Day went into receivership, are proposing to turn the hall into commercial premises and flats. Its application is at 11/3695/FUL.
To date, a full historical survey of the building hasn't been done. Some parts, including the exterior metal ladder which is the only way to access the top floor, are in a parlous condition. The interior false ceilings hide some of the remaining glory, though there are still elements visible, like Victorian heating vents.
Design and access statement for the redevelopment including old photos and building layout (.pdf, 3.1MB, 32 pages, worth the wait to download)
Archaeological site report , with photos and maps (.pdf, 3.6MB, 53 pages, worth the wait to download)
Historical Information on the Hall Report by Rowena Scrimshaw, former conservation officer with the council (.pdf, 2.9MB, 20 pages, worth the wait to download)
Article by Teresa Read of the Memories of Twickenham oral history project
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