Harlow to K2 and Beyond

The story of the UK Sports & Leisure Centre Past, Present and Future

Sponsor & Partner

This voluntary project could only be undertaken with sponsorship. We are extremely grateful to S+P Architects, the international sports and leisure architects, for their support.


Welcome to The Sports Leisure Legacy Project

The project records the history of the development of the UK community sports & leisure centre and the recreation management profession it initiated.

The first purpose-built UK indoor sports centre for the community opened in Harlow in 1964 and there are now over one thousand centres in the country. The centres continue to make a significant contribution to the social, sporting and recreational lives of communities. In developing the story, project leaders are in touch with some of the earliest centre managers and many others across the decades.

Part One and Part Two are now available. Chapters 7-12 will be carried on this website in 2020. The six decades are to be recorded by managers and directors from each period, including some from the very first centres.

This website tells you about

  • the Sports Leisure Legacy Project
  • our sponsor and main supporters and
  • how those involved in sports & leisure centres, past and present, can contribute information and stories.
The Sports Leisure Legacy Project is owned by G. C. Carver and is copyright. No copying of text or images is permitted unless with the express permission of the owner.
Copyright Disclaimer

All photos, images and direct references used on this site have been checked for copyright where possible. If a photo or image is posted, it is because display rights have been obtained from the copyright holder, or because it is known to be in the public domain, or because clear copyright/ownership could not be established. It is not the intention of this website to willingly violate copyrights or intellectual ownership in any way. If it is determined that a photo or image appearing on this site is copyrighted by others, it will be acknowledged or removed at the wish of the copyrighter.


“Harlow to K2 and beyond”

From Harlow in 1959


“George Torkildsen and the ground breaking Harlow Sportcentre are synonymous with inspiration and innovation. This encouraged me on the road in those early days of recreation management.”

Geoff Gearing

Manager, Deeside Leisure Centre 1970-74.

to K2 in 2006


“K2 was a significant development in the sports centre story. Providing residential development on the site of a 1960’s new town centre facility fully funded K2 Crawley as well as two new satellite sites that met modern needs and provided much stronger links between our local schools and community sport.”

Nigel Sheehan

Head of Partnership Services, Crawley Borough Council

and Beyond to 2020

London Aquatics Centre: Olympics 2012 Pool
Architects: Zaha Hadid & Space + Place

“We’ve always been at the forefront of leisure design. Today our work has a primary focus on economic sustainability, driving up participation and reducing unnecessary cost. The quality of customer experience is paramount to stemming attrition from sport and maintaining required revenues.”

Keith Ashton

Director, S+P Architects

Our Supporters

The following national organisations welcome this project:

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Supported by:

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