We’ve long championed the joys of Ironmonger Row Turkish Baths in Islington, but even we admit it had got a bit, well, rough round the edges. But now the Grade II-listed 1930’s building has been transformed in a £16 million makeover and will be re-opened on November 16 by Ellie Simmonds, the swimming superstar who won two gold medals for Great Britain in the 2012 Paralympic Games. The refurbishment includes restoration of the main pool, with its stunning top-lit ceiling, a new training pool with a moveable floor to improve access for learners and disabled people, a new exercise studio, a state-of-the-art gym, modernised changing rooms, a new public laundry for the local community – and last but not least a complete revamp of the turkish baths and a new spa area. But will staff still pummel you like a piece of meat on the old marble slabs they used to use for the spa’s infamous no-nonsense massages? Watch this space – we’ll be trying out the new facilities for ourselves in a few weeks and will let you know. Rebecca Taylor
Ironmonger Row Baths will fully reopen to the public on November 24, with a special weekend of community events. For details, see better.org.uk.