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Brixton Rec Declared a National Treasure

November 4, 2016 8:26 PM

Enthusiasts and supporters of the iconic Brixton Recreation Centre will be delighted to learn that Historic England has awarded it a Grade 11 listing for its special architectural and historic interest. Campaigners for the building put it forward for listing in May of this year.

This is a notable achievement and the listing recognises the centre's unusual and dynamic architecture, its status as a major public building of the period and its significance within the community. Designed in 1970 by an in-house team of Lambeth Council Architects led by George Finch various political and financial travails beset it for some time afterwards so that the centre finally opened its doors for the first time in 1985.

The listing will be seen as a victory for users and enthusiasts of the Brixton Rec who have battled with the Labour-run Council over under-investment and poor maintenance. Indeed there have been widespread and persistent rumours that Labour politicians want rid of the place and have been desperately searching for developers willing to construct a new smaller leisure centre in its place.

We will have to see how this plays out. Listing does not of itself guarantee a building's onward security but a council wishing to pull one down - especially one in its own ownership - will have to make a stronger case than ever.

And it will not be allowed simply to neglect the much-loved leisure centre to the point of dereliction - either by Historic England or by the stalwart users whose victory this is.