There was an interesting overlap the other week between Time Out London‘s cover story, “Swim City,” about London’s “best pools, ponds and lidos,” and Polar Inertia‘s newest issue featuring beautiful photographs of abandoned swimming pools throughout the greater London area.
“Great pools?” Time Out asked. “From marble-clad baths dripping in history to modern leisure centres echoing with lifeguards’ whistles, London is swimming in them.”
Except, of course, many of its pools are also drained and forgotten.
The photos here are all by Gigi Cifali, who originally trained as a topographer, from a series called “Absence of Water.” The images document the disused pools of London – and there are many more of these photos to be seen over at Polar Inertia or on Cifali’s own website.
I’m reminded, though, of a great line from J.G. Ballard’s novel Empire of the Sun:
Jim watched Mr. Maxted sway along the tiled verge of the empty swimming pool, curious to see if he would fall in. If Mr. Maxted was always accidentally falling into swimming pools, as indeed he always was, why did he only fall into them when they were filled with water?
(All photos by Gigi Cifali).