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Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman celebrates the reopening of Poplar baths

PUBLISHED: 14:27 23 October 2013 | UPDATED: 14:27 23 October 2013

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Poplar Baths – one of the most iconic and much loved buildings in the East End – was opened in 1852 to provide wash facilities for the poor of our borough.

When it was rebuilt in 1933, the East India Hall was floored over and used as a dance hall, theatre and exhibition hall. Sadly, the building closed in 1988 – ever since local residents have campaigned to see it reopened.

This week I have finally been able to give the green light to the restoration of Poplar Baths and also much loved Dame Colet House. This £36million project will see Poplar Baths brought back to its former glory; the long-disused Dame Colet House in Stepney brought back into use as a youth centre, and about 100 affordable and family-size homes built.

The project has been approved by the council’s development committee with work in Poplar due to start in the next few months. I would like to thank some of the campaigners who have helped make this happen.

Few have been as committed as Lil Collins.

As chairman of Poplar Baths Steering Group, Lil said: “After 20 years and lots of promises from lots of leaders, it is Mayor Lutfur who has finally delivered on the restoration of Poplar Baths. I want to thank him and deputy mayor Ohid Ahmed for their commitment to the borough’s heritage.”

Brenda Daley has been another key campaigner as chairman of Ocean Estate Residents Association. She says: “This project offers a huge range of benefits to the community. The youth centre at Dame Colet is being recommissioned as a state-of-the-art facility for our young people and, with 100 affordable homes on the way as well, there’s a lot to celebrate.”

At a time when other local authorities are closing facilities, here in Tower Hamlets we are reopening them and building anew.


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