If you thought that Twickenham’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations were over, you can think again. The big one has yet to come! Well, if not the biggest or most timely, then it’s certainly the most Twickenham-centric. 32 years after Twickenham Baths closed its doors to the public (and yes, locals insist it was called Twickenham Baths and not Twickenham Swimming Pool or Lido) the transition of a large chunk of the site from wasteland to spanking new green space is almost, nearly, just about ready. You already know that the fate of the site has been source of debate, argument and large amounts of inaction for years. The redevelopment plans favoured by the previous Lib Dem El Brute administration were controversial and, it’s probably fair to say, played a part in Serge Lourie & Co getting the heave ho from York House in the May 2010 election.

The new Brutes, led by Lord True, the Blue Baron, made a commitment to do something with the site and although the current plan might not be the most innovative and exciting in terms of maximising the regeneration opportunities for the whole riverside, it’s a damn sight better than more years of bickering and inactivity. Credit is also due to Twickenham Riverside Terrace Group and others for helping to move it forward.

“In these difficult times” a public garden for all the community seems like a decent interim solution to the pool site problem and need not preclude a more ambitious town centre / riverside plaza development further down the line.

The official opening of the Diamond Trubilee Gardens is on Saturday 23rd June when an invited audience of 200 will get to take a turn about the grounds with the Blue Baron himself and Princess Alexandra off of the Royal Family. The regular members of the twickerati (that’s us normal folks, btw) will have to wait until Sunday 24th to gain access but we will have the advantage of seeing some live music as well as stalls and entertainment with a traditional 1930s showground theme (but without the mass unemployment and looming threat of war, we hope). The opening event on the 24th will run from 11.00am to 6.00pm.

And while you’re waiting, here are some pictures taken of the transformation of the site over the last few months…

The derelict site
The diving board
Clearing the site
Early days
Plants going in
Paving at the ready
Nearly there
Really nearly there

* LBRuT / El Brute Press Release

Riverside links:
* http://twickenhamriverside.org
* http://www.rivercentre.org.uk
* http://friendsoftwickenhamriverside.org.uk

Previously on twickerati:
* Inane reference to Spandau Ballet
* The secret garden