Search

Call for fishing ban in Hampstead Heath bathing ponds after swimmer’s death threatens 300-year tradition

11:05 29 May 2014

Safety measures have been proposed for the ponds following the death of Sussie Ahlburg last summer. Picture: Richard Lea-Hair

Safety measures have been proposed for the ponds following the death of Sussie Ahlburg last summer. Picture: Richard Lea-Hair

Archant

A centuries-old tradition of fishing in Hampstead Heath’s bathing ponds is under threat after a health and safety expert proposed banning anglers to protect swimmers.

Celebrated photographer Sussie Ahlburg, who died while swimming in the Kenwood Ladies' Bathing Pond in August 2013. Picture: Isabelle BusnelCelebrated photographer Sussie Ahlburg, who died while swimming in the Kenwood Ladies' Bathing Pond in August 2013. Picture: Isabelle Busnel

The recommendation was made in a safety review of the Heath’s swimming ponds following the death of acclaimed photographer Sussie Ahlburg last August.

The report’s author, a swimming safety expert, said fishing should be prohibited in the Mixed Bathing Pond and restricted in the Highgate Men’s Pond to “remove any potential issue that might distract the lifeguards”.

Facilities at the Kenwood Ladies’ Bathing Pond could be set for a revamp to aid the work of lifeguards.

But anglers say the proposed fishing ban – which is being considered by the Hampstead Heath Consultative Committee on Monday – risks destroying a 300-year tradition of fishing in the swimming ponds.

Prem Holdaway, 75, of the Hampstead Heath Anglers Society, said: “Anglers had nothing to do with the death of Sussie Ahlburg.

“If this goes ahead, anglers will find somewhere else to fish. It’s what the City wants us to do.”

While the anglers would still have access to four non-bathing ponds – the Model Boating, Hampstead No 2, Vale of Health and Viaduct ponds – they fear the City is intent on eroding their access.

The society’s chairman, Doug Slade, said the Highgate Men’s Pond is the only one he can access because he is disabled.

“We used to be able to fish in all the ponds,” he said.

“But since the City took over [in 1989] they’ve cut that down to six, and the Viaduct Pond doesn’t have any fish in it.”

The report’s other recommendations include a redesign of the Kenwood Ladies’ Bathing Pond jetty, which would have a see-through, non-slip surface to ensure lifeguards can see swimmers when they are under the jetty.

The changing facilities could also be rebuilt and set further away from the lifeguard’s observation area to prevent “chatty swimmers” distracting lifeguards on their way to the ponds.

Mary Powell, secretary of the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond Association (KLPA), said: “If the pond can be made safer, there is an opportunity to do so.

“The changing facilities are a functional setting and any new building would need to be low-key. We don’t want something award-winning.”

Catherine Cinnamon, a KLPA member, said: “The proposals are a bit big and invasive. We want to keep it as natural as possible.”

A spokesman for the City of London Corporation said: “We are exploring alternative fishing proposals like dredging the Viaduct Pond, to bring back fishing activities at that site.

“We will also be doing some work on Hampstead No 2 Pond to improve the fishing experience there, and retaining fishing on Model Boating Pond. We are working with the Hampstead Heath Anglers Society on these proposals.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 14:06
Yasmin Farah

Police are appealing for the public’s help to find two sixteen-year-old girls who have gone missing from Camden.

Yesterday, 09:07
Mary Langan with her 23-year-old son, James

Carers of adults with demential and disabilities are demanding change after a report revealed there is a “breakdown of trust” on the Haringey boards designed to represent them.

Thu, 17:14
Nina Martynchyk with her foster mother, Nina B

A young woman who overcame anorexia is organising a conference with the Royal Free Hospital to draw attention to how the condition affects children and teenagers

Thu, 16:01
Highgate School

Students and staff at Highgate school were reflecting on a very impressive set of GCSE results today, with 88.2 percent of exams receiving a grade of A* or A.

Thu, 12:41
Hampstead School is in Westbere Road (Pic credit: Google streetview)

The Hampstead School has once again seen its GCSE results improve today, with nearly a quarter of all grades receiving an A* or A grade.

Thu, 11:53
Hornsey School for Girls

Girls at Hornsey School for Girls were today collecting some stellar GCSE results.

Thu, 11:44
Sam White has praised William Ellis pupils

The headteacher of William Ellis school, Sam White, was full of praise for his students today after a promising set of GCSE results.

Thu, 10:56
UCS school

University College School was today celebrating the second best set of GCSE results in its history, with a remarkable 88.6 percent of exams achieving either an A* or A grade.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The showroom is located in Hayes

After 25 years as a trade-only business, family-run door manufacturers Composite Door Master are set to open their first public showroom in Hayes this weekend.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now