York Hall in Bethnal Green, one of Britain’s best-loved boxing venues and local leisure centres, has been given a £250k refurbishment.
Boxing legends Chris Eubank, Joe Calzaghe, and undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, have all fought at the iconic York Hall, which is considered one of the top 10 boxing venues in the world, with a capacity of 1,200 spectators.
As a leisure centre, York Hall is open to the public, offering a ‘state of the art’ gymnasium, two swimming pools, a day spa, and a wide range of exercise classes. Earlier this year York Hall hosted both Great Britain and Spain’s synchronised swimming squads in preparation for the Olympics.
The refurbishment, that includes a full revamp of the gym, swimming pool, and changing rooms, and a general ‘refresh of the centre’, was funded through a ‘leisure management contract’ between Tower Hamlets and Greenwich Leisure (GLL), who manage over 60 leisure, health, and fitness facilities in London. In 2005 York Hall underwent a £4.2 million pound refurbishment after being threatened with closure.
Tower Hamlets and GLL hope that the improved leisure facilities at York Hall will attract more local residents to take part in sport, and inspire them to become interested in the forthcoming London Olympic Games.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, said: “I am delighted the York Hall revamp has been finished in time for the Olympic Games, and will encourage residents to make use of the excellent facilities on offer.”
York Hall first opened in 1929, and housed the last publicly run Turkish bath in the East End until 2007 when the council re-branded it as an upmarket day spa, a decision that enticed angry protests from the public.
Regarding the historical significance of the venue, Aaron Perth, York Hall General Manager, added: “The new modern facilities are something to be proud of, while remaining sympathetic to the historic nature of the building.”
By Sean Lindholm