7 October 2016
Kings Cross Pond Club: is this the end for city-centre wild swimming?
by Sally Goble
It first opened as a living art installation, juxtaposing nature and urban regeneration. Now its users are taking the plunge to campaign against its closure.
The Kings Cross Pond Club, which sidled on to London’s swimming scene at the start of 2015, capturing swimmers’ hearts, at the same time as becoming one of the city’s quirkiest tourist attractions, is to close.
Argent, the property developer that owns the land on which it sits, has taken the decision to close the pond. Although it was only ever intended to be temporary – and only has planning permission to last two years – pond users are aghast.
Over its short life, the pond has grown in popularity and has served more than 20,000 swimmers since it opened in May of last year. It serves the local community as a different and offbeat recreational facility, and attracts curious tourists. In addition, it is loved by outdoor and “wild” swimmers, who travel from far and wide to experience swimming in a naturally filtered fresh-water pool situated in a built-up area.
A campaign, made up of a diverse group of pond users, has started to try to convince Argent, and local council Camden, to rethink its imminent closure.
Imogen, who started a petition to save the pond and lived in Kings Cross in the 1980s until moving to East Anglia, says: “Swimming in the pond has drawn me back to Kings Cross.” Dr Chris is an academic, swimmer and TV presenter who has a keen interest in examining the effects of swimming in cold water on improving physical and mental health. He says: “The benefits of the pond are so wide-ranging in terms of the health of both the users and the area, that to dismantle it would be a tragedy.”
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King's Cross Pond Club