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Swimmobile: a pool on a lorry

26th April, 2018

No pool in your area? No swimming lessons at your child’s school? A swimming pool on the back of a lorry could soon tour London 

Thames Baths Founder Chris Romer-Lee and Artist Amy Sharrocks are collaborating to bring a 40ft pool on the back of a lorry to the streets of London. The proposed Swimmobile will use filtered water from urban waterways and tour community spaces, residential streets and parks, loosely following the Thames, as well as lost or lesser known rivers and waterways.

“It will re-connect Londoners to the joy of swimming and water, leaving them with a lifelong memory of the day Swimmobile came to their community,” says Chris. “Within this is the longer story of the positive changes to water quality in our urban waterways. Swimmobile is an educational platform as well as providing a solution to the inaccessible and often dangerous urban waterways in our cities.”

Inspired by a council led programme in 1960s New York City and 1980s Detroit. Swimmobile has never been done in the UK – Chris and Amy see this as their chance!

“…word spread yesterday that some sort of truck towing a swimming pool had stopped in the neighbourhood on this scorching day, and that scads of children were diving in.”  

“Children scurried home to get their swimming suits and to spread news of the miracle – a story most of their mothers considered to be severely lacking in credibility.”

New York Times 1 July 1987

 

“Swimmobile could form a key part of the summer festival season, as well as visiting prominent waterside developments,” says Chris. “We would actively look for residential street sites that are cut off from the river, and communities who are traditionally less likely to make use of access to pools. We would partner with swimming organisations and various charities as best practice to build this programme. We are keen to partner with country-wide Playstreets programmes, which encourage street play in inner city areas, and already regularly work with councils to close city streets.”

A programme of talks will accompany this journey across the months, contextualising the aims of the work, widening its scope and impact. At the end of the season Swimmobile could hibernate for the winter months, to be used again in London and other UK cities. The US container pools ran for over 10 years.Swimmobile needs you!

Chris and Amy are actively looking for more funding partners to make Swimmobile – if you can help make this happen or want more info, do contact Chris on chris@thamesbaths.com – watch this space for more information.