Swimming pool loved by naturists to stay closed

Facility dates back to 1952

Thursday, 22nd April 2021 — By Tom Foot

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The pool in Malet Street

NATURISTS have been dealt a “crushing blow” after discovering their favourite swimming pool will not be reopening after the pandemic.

The Naturist London group has met once a week for liberating costume-free swims in the Student Central building in Malet Street, Bloomsbury, since 2012. The skinny-dipping sessions became the most popular of their kind in the UK, with up to 100 swimmers gathering every Sunday lunchtime.

Nude swimmer Colin, a regular at the pool, said: “We know from our social media that a great many people were looking forward to swimming with us again as soon as lockdown restrictions were relaxed. This sad news, coming just as an end was in sight, will cause widespread disappointment. So, if you have a swimming pool, we have plenty of swimmers eager to use it – and not necessarily on a Sunday.”

The University of London has decided not to reopen EnergyBase, its sports facility within the Student Central building, following the year-long closure.

It plans to convert the building for additional teaching and study space for neighbouring Birkbeck University.

Designed in 1939 but only completed in 1952, the historic pool has a royal box that has been used by Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother, when watching swimming galas, and was also used by The Beatles for a photoshoot in 1963.

The naked swimming was open to anyone who fancied a dip without a costume – not just committed naturists – according to Naturist London.

Andrew Welch, a spokesman for British Naturism, added: “Taboos around the naked human body are eroding and people are beginning to acknowledge the health and well-being benefits of spending time without clothes, especially in the company of others, with more and more wanting to give it a try and experience the exhilarating feelings for themselves.”

Student Central said: “Energybase has been closed for much of the past year due to Covid-19 restrictions, and following a review of our operations, we have taken the decision to shut permanently.”

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