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Campaign launched to save 'oustanding' baths

A popular 1930s swimming baths in Islington, on the edge of the City, is under threat of demolition, it has emerged this week.

Opposition Labour councillors have claimed that the Liberal Democrat-run Islington council is finalising plans to dispose of the Ironmonger Row Baths site for redevelopment.

This has led to an urgent plea from the Twentieth Century Society to put the building forward for spot listing.

The society claims that the building - completed in two phases between 1931 and 1938 and designed by KMB Cross and AWS Cross - is one of the best examples of its type and era in London.

KMB Cross and AWS Cross designed a number of architecturally important municipal baths throughout the capital. Some of these are already listed, including Haggerston Baths in Hackney, the Camberwell Public Baths and the Marshall Street Baths in Westminster.

The Twentieth Century heritage group considers Ironmonger Row Baths to be of similar merit to these, claiming it is 'an outstanding example of 1930s municipal architecture.'

But Laura Willoughby, Islington Council's executive member for communities, has hit back, denying plans to dispose of the site. 'This is simply not true,' she said. 'The facts speak for themselves. Last year the council invested £237,000 in IRB, with £85,000 planned for this financial year and £500,000 earmarked for the next.

'In fact the council is investing more in leisure services than ever before.'

by Rob Sharp

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