The Future of The Ladywell Playtower

Four potential bidders for the Ladywell Playtower - including two cinema chains, a cultural consortium and Goldsmiths - have been shortlisted by Lewisham Council, who have launched a public consultation about the future of the iconic building.

The Grade II-listed Playtower has lain dormant for years, but now four exciting concepts have been identified, including:

Goldsmiths

"Goldsmiths propose to locate the University’s established and internationally renowned post‐graduate Art courses solely at the redeveloped Playtower site, in a dedicated and purpose‐built centre for the growing Masters programme on offer.

"Primarily this would see the sensitive restoration of the main pool hall, and the reinstatement of the part‐demolished rear pool over two storeys, to provide three large flexible studio spaces. This model would replicate the under graduate facilities currently provided from the similarly constructed Grade II listed Laurie Grove Baths at the Goldsmiths main campus in New Cross."

Guildmore and Curzon

"Our vision is to reimagine the Ladywell Playtower as a publicly accessible leisure destination for the Borough of Lewisham.
"In response to strong local demand and drawing upon the original concept for the building which saw the First Class Pool Hall seasonally decked over for use as an entertainment venue, we propose to reopen the Playtower as a three screen cinema, complete with freely accessible public events foyer and complementary café, bar and restaurant uses."

Picturehouse

"Our proposal seeks to enhance and preserve it by finding a new use which will enable it to play an active part in the community for many years to come. We propose to refurbish the main building and to use the theatrical pool hall space for one large cinema screen - the remainder of the existing building will provide ancillary spaces with a cafe, bar, event room, exhibition space and community rooms. To the rear of the site on the footprint of the demolished second pool hall - we will construct a further four cinema screens in a new extension.
"Alongside this will be a thorough landscaping proposal for the whole site including a new route
which will link Ladywell Fields with Ladywell Road, placing the Playtower at the heart of what could become a new cultural quarter for Ladywell."

RJK/Copeland Park and Hillman

"Our vision for the Playtower is to create an exciting and dynamic cultural quarter for Ladywell, while transforming a building that was originally designed to separate people by class into a thriving site that brings people together and encourages them to interact and create.
"We see the Playtower housing a rich mix of performances, events, artist/maker studios, cafes, creative business offices, art galleries, a communal garden-courtyard, restaurants, health and well-being studios, a small cinema and community organizations. The jewel in the crown will be transforming the incredible former first-class pool area into a dynamic performance and event space.

"This space could become one of the most unique and intriguing performance venues in London and we will work with our partners at the Albany Theatre in Deptford to programme a range of commercial and community performances by everyone from leading arts organizations to local people.

"We are proposing to build, subject to planning permission, three new buildings on the site, all sensitively designed to fit in with the Playtower and other surrounding heritage buildings. This new ‘family’ of buildings will include a block of twenty rentable flats, a modest building with four rentable live/work units and ‘The Pavilion’ - a commercial building we will rent out to multiple tenants in the same way as the Playtower."

For a site that has been so neglected for so long, it is exciting to see such ambitious visions being presented by organisations with the means to realise them. You have until August 17th to complete the questionnaire.

Full disclosure, I am a member of the Goldsmiths body that approved this exploratory work on their part.

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