Pump Rooms spring to mind

I read with interest an article in the Leamington Society’s recent newsletter that talked, in dramatic terms, about the risks of changing what the function of the Royal Pump Rooms are, and perhaps about the sale of the building.

It might sound ominous, but needn’t be so. The building was once the main attraction in the town, and combined with the gardens and parks nearby, provided an unrivalled attraction famous for its spa, hammam, and health treatments. It has been owned, and run, by the district council for many years now, and its use has changed over time from a thriving tourist attraction, to a swimming baths and leisure centre, and now to a library, art gallery, museum and offices.

Whilst attending the BCSC conference in 2013 with a team to promote Leamington Old Town, I overheard a conversation that we thought must be about Leamington. Two very enthusiastic people were talking about how after being a swimming pool, library and offices, the famous spa was in the planning stages of being revived as a multimillion pound spa attraction to rival Bath’s.

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Swimming through my head were excited thoughts about sitting in a restored gorgeous hammam steam room, meeting faces from the town and welcoming visitors, and then following up with a gentle walk around the still wonderful Jephson Gardens to cool down and reflect on the experience.

Excitedly I listened more: ‘oh yes, the council have worked on it to make it a commercial enterprise and expect to be able to make £20m a year from visitors. We can’t believe it used to only be a library when it has so much heritage as a functioning spa.

‘That’s amazing’ I said. What happens now?

‘We repair the Pump Room first.’

Well. How exciting.

Convinced they were still talking about Leamington, I was a bit confused. They were now talking about a brand of water they thought the council owned part of that had generated the investment funds.

“Which water?”

Buxton of course’ came the reply. Oops!

More information about the excellent restoration of Buxton Crescent can be found on www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-26030979 and if you want to try it out, they expect it to open in two years time.

I wonder how long it will be for us?

Jeremy Ireland, Project Leader, Mary Portas Bid - Leamington Old Town

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