Artist does dry run to keep pool wet

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The Independent Online
For most people, bath-time is a treat. But for Tom Geoghegan it is nearer a nightmare because, from this morning, he will be lying in an open-air bath all day and all night for a week.

Togged in thick thermals and a Cossack hat, he will be sitting out his "time-based performance", entitled "bath time", to focus attention on the fact that the public swimming-pool behind him has been drained and boarded up since 1991.

Hornsey Road Baths is in Islington, the London borough which, Mr Geoghegan said, was originally called "yseldon", ("ysel" meaning "water") and described in the 12th century as a "place of fountains of water, sweet, wholesome and clear, streaming forth among the glistering pebbles". The iron bath in which Mr Geoghegan will lie is one of the original slipper-baths. It will be empty, like the pool inside. The seven days and seven nights are to symbolise the Creation.

Passers-by will be invited to sign a giant, permanent petition on the front of the Hornsey Road Baths building and donate money to an architectural competition. Mr Geoghegan hopes to raise pounds 15,000 for the competition, designed to generate a new vision for the site.

"Unless immediate action is taken, the pools will be demolished and the land sold off for commercial development, depriving the community of a desperately needed public space facility," he said.

Hornsey Road Baths were built in 1892, with four pools, a public laundry and slipper baths. The men's first-class pool was bombed in 1941 and the site redeveloped in the Sixties. Mr Geoghegan, 35, first swam there when he was six months old. "My nickname was The Fish, because I lived in the water. I used to live at Hornsey Baths ...It used to be a real fun place. Now it's just a big empty bath."

While he is not surrounding himself with quality bath-time accessories - there's no champagne, Badedas or loofah in sight - he has, however, allowed himself one bath toy: a phone.

Anyone can call the artist at work on: 0171 281 5148.