Forest Hill Pools [2016-2018]



Hi I wondered whether this might be a good place to ask people’s views on Forest Hill Pools (rather than start a new thread). I was a member briefly about 18 months ago but left due to 3 main frustrations:

  1. The state of the (men’s) changing rooms and showers was often not good enough. In particular the showers barely worked, as i recall they send out a fine mist of absolutely scolding hot water and were utterly unfit for purpose. Despite my numerous complaints at the time nothing was done about it.

  2. The gym was almost entirely cardio equipment. I find this very odd. I (and many fellow exercise enthusiasts I know) much prefer doing the bulk of our cardio exercise outside in the fresh air rather than running robotically on a treadmill. I appreciate the need for some cardio equipment just to warm up and get the heart rate going (and of course sometimes especially in winter I will reluctantly run inside) but the gym’s almost total exclusion of free weights was very disappointing.

  3. The swimming pool was virtually impossible to get in for quiet lane swimming. Occasionally either very early morning or very late evening you might get lucky, but generally there was no point trying to swim lengths in it.

Is anyone here a member? Any comments on whether any of the issues above have changed since I left (about a year ago)? It’s so frustrating to have what should be a good relatively new facility on my doorstep but to find it so unfit for purpose.

Fighting back to fitness
Forest Hill Pools

I remember a conversation we had about the dangerous state of the roof of the building, and it appeared to be left that way for quite some time (has it even been fixed now?). Clearly would be good to steer the managers (Fusion?) toward this forum so they can participate in the discussion and get the valuable feedback.


I know someone senior at Fusion. Will pass this on.


Unfortunately stepover, nothing has really changed equipment wise. There are a couple of new lightweight barbells, but vital equipment such as squat racks and the like are still missing.

It seems like there is a good amount of space allowing an expansion of the gym area (ie: the upstairs foyer is wasted) or even re purposing the “community room” into a weights room.

I agree, it’s a shame to have a facility like without basic equipment and am now questioning whether it is worth renewing my membership or giving Energie Gym a shot.


Thanks Sneezing - I raised my concerns with the gym re the lack of weights when i was a member and was told that it was a deliberate decision to stop the gym becoming a macho den full of thick set blokes pumping iron. The thing is that while I generally understand that aim, the limit on the weights mean they’re not even fit for purpose for normal use. I am FAR from a weight-lifting guy (I’m 6ft, 12 stones and don’t drink protein shakes!), but being a naturally skinny person I need to lift some weights to build lean muscle - I seem to recall from my membership that they wouldn’t even accommodate comparatively light weights (e.g. up to 20kg dumbells and up to 60kg barbell - these are NOT heavy weights and would not turn the gym into some awful macho weightlifting den!).

I also think you could argue that it’s borderline discriminatory - it’s a community council gym and should serve everybody and at present I think it is very deliberately targeted more to cater for women and children (for the record I’m not trying to stereotype along gender lines, I’m simply observing that the equipment provided is not suitable for most males who are naturally heavier and likely to need to lift heavier weights than equivalent females in order to perform an exercise repetition).


Sadly I don’t think they are doing a good job at targeting women/ children either.
There’s no crèche so women with young children are excluded from the gym. The classes seem to be popular, but the one time I tried to ‘rent’ the community room far too many roadblocks were placed in my way.
The pools should be amazing, but the changing rooms are often dirty and unkept (I could say something stronger here but am trying to be considerate), the baby pool is too cold for young babies.
Swimming lessons/ classes are over subscribed I recently signed up for 4yo swimming lessons and was told I was number 154 on the waiting list!!!

It could be such a lovely facility a real heart of the community, but feels like they’ve not got it right yet.


I feel quite sad when the topic of the Pools comes up. After such an amazing effort to keep them where they were, and the creation of such a great local facility, it still feels like a missed opportunity.

I don’t want to put all issues down to the staff, but I have been disappointed in almost every interaction I’ve had with the Fusion staff. I asked why the second pool was so cold that I couldn’t keep my daughter in it for more than a few minutes and was told that it’s definitely not a “baby pool” or a “children’s pool” and that if I wanted a nice warm pool, I should go to David Lloyd in Beckenham (this from the then pool manager). The temp is kept at the minimum recommended by the ASA, which probably means that the running costs and environmental impact are as low as possible, but doesn’t make for a great experience as a user.

I think there are fundamental flaws in the design and management of the building. For example, I’d like to take my daughter swimming during the week but the shallow pool is generally used for lessons during the day and cannot be shared. Annoyingly, we’ve been on a waiting list for lessons for nearly a year. And there’s no communication around that.

Try to go for a swim in the learner pool at 9am or 10am on a Sunday - you’ll queue for half an hour (always a joy with a toddler) and then the pool will be empty for half a session. Why not have differently coloured wristbands and just have the lifeguards move people on every 30 or every 45 mins? Most people don’t stay in for more than 30 mins anyway.

The state of the changing rooms (particularly in the winter) is a disgrace but it’s fundamentally down to the users. A lot of people don’t take outdoor shoes off, but the company doesn’t seem interested in addressing this. The corridor between changing rooms and cafe is often strewn with toys and the cafe is disheartening at best.

Having something like the pools within walking distance of so many of us, it should be busy and it should be profitable and it should be treasured. I don’t think it actually works for anyone other than the people making money from Fusion.


Resurrecting/ bumping this thread since I’ve just got back from holiday and realised how much I’ve been missing swimming.

Are there any forums (of the in-real life variety, maybe) where any of the concerns above can be taken to Fusion or the Contracts manager from the Council who presumably oversees them?


Oh crumbs, and this 6-foot 15st bloke has just signed up (admittedly at the bargain all-in rate for over 60s). I kind of assumed a gym was a gym etc. The young lady at the counter on Sunday was a model of good service & politeness. I have yet to turn up for a session but I do feel better already…


Having been a member of one or two other Fusion places, I actually think it’s pretty decent here. Not perfect - I personally would like to see more classes at better times and also a bit more focus on normal lane over school and family swimming - but overall I think it’s a decent facility for the price, if you compare it to other gyms in London. The gym itself is clean, doesn’t get too crowded, and I think the balance of kit is about right.


Its their (lack of) basic organisational skills that always disappoints me. We’ve had our sons name down on the waiting list for swimming lessons for some time now, and twice now over the previous last few months we’ve been in to see how far down the list his is, only to find that they’ve lost his details and had to start all over again - a bit of a blow given how long the waiting list is (approx. 80 names on last check) :frowning2:

We had such high hopes for the place, even through all the noise and disruption when they knocked down the old pools, even after they knocked down our garden fence and destroyed a load of mature planting which a digger, even after the nights of listening to alarms going off, even after querying the lack of parking during the design phase and to be told how every one will use public transport to get there - to now finding that we have no hope of parking on our street at weekends while everyone else takes their children to their swimming lessons (oh the irony) … after all that, to find that we cant make use of the facilities as we would like due the inability to maintain a simple list is a little… well… frustrating.


My daughter has been on a swimming lesson list for a year now. I think I ought to check whether she’s also dropped off it.

Agree re: high hopes vs delivery. Which comes back to my question above: is there a forum where we can raise this (ideally in real life)?


I seem to have a different experience from most on here.

I previously used it on Sundays for swimming in the learner pool with my son (he was 3-4 then). Not sure what they do now, but you previously had a band for an hour slot, you had to get there about 8.45 for the 9am slot to get in. Never tried the 10am slot, 8am was always less busy which sounds early of course but you are often up early with little ones!

Pool temperature is ok in that pool, if a little on the cold side for young children.

My son has a lesson there every week and it’s ok, though after 30 mins he can be a bit cold when he comes out. Waiting list for him was 8-12 months - I can’t remember precisely!

I generally find the facilities fine, but then I am normally there first thing before anything gets messed up I guess.

There are other local-ish options - St Dunstans, Dulwich School (I was on the waiting list for that and they did email me when a place became available).

For general Sunday family swimming Depford is nice and not far and you can park on Sundays. Sloping pool like a beach, slide for small ones to go into the water and different sections with different depths, and a very warm (if small) pool for toddlers and babies.


Coming back to this old thread in search of ideas. I’ve been taking my daughter swimming on Saturdays for nearly 6 months now.

Every Saturday morning we go along and the teaching is great (and a bargain) and the Pools staff are generally helpful and friendly. One thing which continues to amaze and disappoint me is the number of parents who think it’s ok to walk up and down through the changing rooms and the poolside in their outdoor shoes.

My question for the forum - is there any constructive way to challenge this behaviour? The few times I’ve said to anyone that they shouldn’t be doing this for hygiene reasons, I’ve had outraged responses (with justifications ranging from “other people aren’t bothering” to “I couldn’t see any overshoes” (tricky to carry off when everyone else is wearing them) to “sod off, it’s none of your business” (it is when my kid has to walk through the mess).

I’ve talked to the Pools staff and they get the same responses. As a community, what can we do? (And am I mad for caring about this?)


It may be aesthetically unpleasant to have to walk with bare feet on people’s muddy footprints, but does it actually do you any harm? Think about walking across a muddy beach into the sea.


I see where you’re coming from, @robin.orton. The problem is that it’s not really an aesthetic objection. There’s the risk of picking things up if anyone has any cracked or broken skin on their feet. But more worrying is that when the poolside gets dirty, that dirt is inevitably going to be taken into the water.


I haven’t been to a public indoor pool for donkeys years but I used to go to Tooting Bec Lido regularly up until about 5 years ago - so I’m not exactly up on the etiquette.

I don’t think outdoor footwear at the poolside is a problem.

Tooting Bec has changing cubicles all the way around the pool, which means that you’re wearing shoes, boots, trainers or whatever on the way in, around the poolside and on the way out.

The exact same thing used to happen at the left side pool at Forest Hill and I can never remember anyone catching anything nasty back in the day.

I think we’re just getting a bit too everything-conscious nowadays but provided people are reasonably responsible (like wiping your feet and checking that they’re not muddy or whatever before going into the pools) I doubt if there will be any harm done.


I guess the problem is the cumulative buildup of mud (and worse) in the water - it might be made safe by the chlorine, germ-wise, but it will dirty all the surfaces and collect in areas that are hard to clean. I don’t know why people can’t just be considerate and take their outdoor shoes off round the poolside.


I’m not personally overly concerned about people walking around in shoes - maybe I should be, maybe I should not, I’ve not researched it enough. I think around the pool I’d generally however agree no shoes, in the changing rooms I don’t particularly care.

I used to take my son Sat mornings, though I pulled him out as the tuition was not working for him. I often found there were no overshoes with all the dispensers early, so the staff could help by checking them more regularly if they want people to wear them. That said I’d agree people should remove them if they are walking by the pool, but this did happen often. I would remove mine, as you say it’s not hard, but honestly when I was growing up, in the changing rooms I can only ever remember people walking in their shoes. I suspect if it’s an issue some more positive re-enforcement from the gym would help, indicating what the issue that could arise might be best. If they tried that and it didn’t work, they could just station people at each entrance periodically and get them to take their shoes off before entering. If the gym really wanted to enforce this they could.


The pools are rubbish.
I used to go regularly for the aqua classes and swimming up until around a year ago. then I gave up and joined the gym in East dulwich the moment I learned Fusion had lost the contract.
The reason I gave up on FHP is because the changing rooms and toilets (womens poolside) were always filthy.
The classes always got cancelled without notice, front desk were often incompetant and clueless.
The timetable of group excersise is really not geared at all for people like me who work full time in the west end and find it difficult to get to daytime or 6pm classes.
The pool is barely ever available for a quiet swim other than early mornings or late evenings.
general swim leaves only one wide lane in use most of the time.
Too many unruly teenagers and kids leaping in pool in the early evening.
the toys and filth strewn around the seating and viewing area
And finally the pool started to feel colder and colder and the water somewhat slimey
I feelFusion are rubbish with scant regard for customers and health and safety.
Hopefully they’ll lose the Lewisham contract too