|Photo courtesy of Joe O'Donnell|
The Victorian Society says:
We urge Lewisham Council to redouble its efforts to find a developer able to bring the building back to life. Inclusion in the Society's Top Ten often leads to national exposure and new interest in the buildings selected which can help save them.
When Ladywell Baths opened, newspapers reported that cleanliness was next to godliness as the baths were so close to the parish church. The building must have made an impact with its gothic arches, huge circular tower with turret, stained glass and decorative ironwork.
Innovatively, to avoid paying the water company, the baths sunk a 270ft well yielding 8,000 gallons of water an hour. A fountain in the grounds was topped with the coping stones of ‘ye well of our ladye at Lewisham’ which gives its name to the area and which was said to have been credited with ‘healing virtues’. The baths have long since lost their turret and other decorative features and have lain empty for many years.
Lewisham Council, which owns the Baths, carried out repairs to keep the building water tight several years ago but has struggled to find anyone to take the building on which has suffered internal vandalism. With a property boom across London the baths have lots of potential for reuse - surely the time is right for someone to come to its rescue.