JUL 00] WARWICK
DISTRICT COUNCIL NEWS
First Anniversary of Royal Reopening
Half a million people
have visited the attractions at Leamington’s historic Pump Rooms in
the year since it reopened.
Visitors these days
take a book, rather than take the waters, in the listed building that
reopened in three stages last summer.
The library, which
relocated from nearby Avenue Road, has brought in about 300,000
Some 130,000 have
gone in to the art gallery and 120,000 to the museum and the tourist
information centre, plus a few thousand in the assembly rooms.
Staff have just
celebrated the first anniversary of the first phase – the opening of
the cafe, tourist information centre and assembly rooms. The library
and art gallery opened in stages acorss August.
Jeff Watkin, heritage
and arts manager for Warwick District Council, said:
are better than we could have hoped for. They are certainly at the
top end of figures we were thinking about.
“People who have
come have said very complimentary things, and Leamington people seem
very proud of it.
“We have visitors
from across the world and local people bringing family and visitors
to have a look.”
It may have a bitter
taste, but some try the Spa water, which is fed from an underground
pipe - and a reminder of the building’s original purpose.
The water was
‘off-line’ for some time after flooding in Leamington, but
visitors can once again decide for themselves on the merits of the
claims about its ability to heal.
The supply is now
monitored weekly by the council’s own environmental staff, who
can’t improve its taste, but they do ensure it is safe to drink.
The museum recounts a
lot of the history of the town and the Spa water, and tells of the
figures responsible for the rapid growth of the former Leamington
Priors into Royal Leamington Spa in the last century.
Opened in 1814 as the
Royal Pump Rooms and Bath, the building on the banks of the River Leam
became famous for its waters.
Facilities were added
over the years, with a Turkish bath and later a swimming pool, which
was in use until 11 years ago. The
building was decaying and was closed by Warwick District Council that
A bid for lottery
funding failed, and a £7 million rescue package was put together by
the council so the building could live on as a library and art