Historic gay sauna Chariots Spa to become ‘immersive spaceship experience’

A proposal has been made to turn a legendary former gay sauna into an “immersive space ship experience [sic]”.

Chariots Spa, in Vauxhall, south-west London, closed its doors in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and announced its permanent closure the following January, after the business went into liquidation.

It was branded as Europe’s largest gay sauna and was the last-surviving Chariots Spa location.

An application has now been submitted to Lambeth Council to turn the two railway arches into an “immersive space ship experience”.

Various parts of the application are redacted, but it shows the applicant, The London Space Elevator Limited, intends to stage plays, indoor sporting events, live and recorded music and dance performances, as well as screen films.

Its operating hours would be 10am to 1.30am, seven days a week.

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The council is accepting public comments on the application.

When Chariots closed its doors, the venue posted a statement on social media thanking its customers and the gay community for its support “making the company a success for many years”.

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People took to social media to share their memories of the venue, including one former staff member who wrote on Twitter that working there had been a pleasure.

“Whatever your feelings are towards saunas, I think we can all safely say that it’s gonna be a huge loss for the London community,” they continued.

In its final years, the Chariots brand came under increased criticism following a string of safety and security-related controversies, including a fire severely damaging the Shoreditch location in 2011 and a man being found dead there in 2012, while another customer died at its Waterloo branch in 2015. Neither death was treated as suspicious by the police.

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