What do I like? Swimming, yes. Art installations, yes. Swimming in an art installation? Sounds right up my street. Somebody I knew asked if I had done this thing. I thought they were talking about putting in the lengths at the Zaha Hadid’s Olympic swimming pool. Turns out no, they were talking about an outside pool just north of Kings Cross Station. About six weeks ago a couple of chums from my twins’ club and I arranged to go, since then almost every day has featured torrential rain. How lucky were we to have the hottest day of the year so far to visit!
Kings Cross Pond Club is the first-ever man-made public bathing pool. What makes it art is that its creator, Marjectica Potrc, says it is. If you haven’t explored the area behind King Cross and St Pancras Stations in London, now is time to do so. Urban regeneration is taking place here: former railway buildings now house Central St Martins fashion school, piazzas with fountains have appeared and in among the many building projects are pieces of high quality public art. The pool is one of them for that fully immersive experience.
Not that the Kings Cross Pond Club feels like a work of art. Jaunty striped changing cabanas, tick. Lockers to stow your valuables, tick. Rubber band with the padlock keys, tick. Just like many municipal swimming pools. Look around you and you see countless building projects, you are in the middle of a huge building site. The pool itself is a curvaceous rectangle about 10 metres wide and 40 long all raised up on a 2 metre pile of earth that is planted with wildflowers. The plants around the edge of the pool and submerged within in keep the water sweet. A low wooden ledge separates you from the plants so you don’t have pond weed snaking round your legs.
On the one hand you are swimming in freshwater with water lilies and on the other, once you are dried and dressed, a cocktail is only a stroll away. That’s just what we did once we’d completed a few circuits and soaked up the sun. The Lighterman is a newly built canal side pub, all glass and blond wood. We had flatbreads and tap water as well. We were shocked to see that we had been billed £2 for each bottle of tap water. This was hastily removed when we expressed our shock, so if you go to the same place ensure that water comes in a carafe and not in one of those old fashioned ginger beer type bottles. Shame because the food and location were excellent.
KNGS CROSS POND CLUB
20 Canal Reach (entrance on Tapper Street), London N1C 4BE
1 June 2016 – 31 August 2016
Only 40 people are allowed at a time, so booking is essential. £5 buys you a three and half hour slot.
Monday – Friday: 7am-10.30am, 11am-2.30pm, 3pm-5.30pm, 6pm-8.30pm
Weekends: 8am-11.30am, 12noon-3.30pm, 4pm-close