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The Castle History

About the company

High Performance Sports Limited (HPS) is a private company set up in 1993 to develop a new climbing wall at The Castle, a large, grade II* listed, Victorian water pumping station in Stoke Newington, North London.  The Castle Climbing Centre opened to the public in October 1995 and has dominated the indoor climbing market in London ever since. As climbers ourselves, we are passionate about our sport and providing the highest quality facilities and services to climbers. We are also committed to long-term, sustainable development and have integrated sustainability into every aspect of our business.

About the building

In a bid to improve the quality of drinking water in London, the Metropolis Water Act of 1852 prohibited drinking water being taken from the Thames below Teddington Lock and required water companies to filter their water. The New River Company had already built two reservoirs in Stoke Newington in the 1830s. To comply with this act, they added a pumping station and filter beds adjacent.  William Chadwell Mylne, acting as Surveyor for the New River Company built The Castle between 1852 and 1856.

By 1936 the steam engines and boilers were replaced with diesel engines and electric pumps. The building was largely redundant by 1971 and the Metropolitan Water Board (who had taken over the New River Company) applied for permission to tear down the Castle and redevelop the site. With the support of local residents and historical associations, The Castle was given Grade II* listing, though it had no use. The site was under threat of development again in the late 80’s before permission was granted for the redevelopment of the building as a climbing centre in 1994.

The Castle Climbing Centre opened in 1995 and is now one of the leading climbing facilities in Europe. Starting in 2009, the site has undergone extensive landscaping with the development of an organic garden.   Major changes will be taking place from 2012-2015 as The Castle enters the final phase of development which will include outdoor boulders, increased climbing capacity indoors and a number of energy efficiency measures to bring this much-loved Victorian building into the 21st century.

Quick Castle facts:

  • The tallest tower is 45.7m (150ft)
  • Original cost of building the Castle: £81,500
  • The two engines powering the enormous flywheels were called The Lion and Lioness.

Further reading:

Hackney Modern, Restored, Forgotten Ignored: 40 buildings to mark 40 years of the Hackney Society. Lisa Rigg (ed), The Hackney Society, 2009.

Stoke Newington Pumping Station, London N16: analysis of a building, author unknown. (PDF download available)


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What's On

The Castle is turning 20!!!!

So we've decided to have a Halloween themed UV fancy dress party!
Saturday 24th October - from 3pm
9pm - 1am: A mix of UV lights, funky costumes & amazing Halloween decor this promises to be a huge party with DJ's & licensed bar


Sunday 18th October - from 2pm
Top rock climbers James Pearson & Caroline Ciavaldini will be running masterclasses before presenting a special screening of Redemption: The James Pearson story. More information available on our Events Page



Castle Tour

Take a tour of the Castle Climbing Centre and discover what we're all about!

Castle Climbing Center - A Day in the Life from Tim Ewins on Vimeo.




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