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Guy hits the tiles on Tyneside for new TV show

ByChloe Watson

Oct 4, 2018

Petrolhead TV presenter Guy Martin swapped grease for grout to film for a new Channel 4 documentary.

Although he’s used to getting his hands dirty, his DIY skills needed fine tuning when he tried his hand at tiling at Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths.

The new series, available now on Catch Up, explores the UK construction skills shortage and episode two sees Guy visit the historic Grade II listed building to find out about the £5m redevelopment taking place.

During his visit, Guy learned how to tile in what will soon be the new café bistro and tried his hand at some specialist restoration skills.

He joked: “I’ve done a bit of bricklaying in the past but I’m definitely not a tiler.  I’ve got a load of tiling that needs done (sic) at home and I’m too tight to pay someone to do it but I now know how to do it myself.”

The TV personality joined a group of construction students and mentors from Volunteer it Yourself (VIY).

The project combines volunteering and DIY by challenging young people to learn trades and building skills on the job by helping to renovate and repair community buildings.

Featured in the episode is VIY volunteer Callum Robinson. The 17-year-old from South Shields is currently undergoing a construction course with crime reduction charity NACRO in Newcastle.

Guy said: “There are so few kids wanting to get into traditional skilled trades, but the kids I’ve been working with today have been keen as mustard and that’s what it’s about, you’ve got to be keen and want to learn.”

Anthony Cawley, operations director at Fusion Lifestyle, said: “Throughout the redevelopment of Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths, we’re giving young people the opportunity to get involved with hands-on construction work, with the hope they’ll learn new skills and choose a career in the industry.

“It’s great the UK construction skills shortage is being highlighted on a national stage in documentaries like Building Britain. And we’re happy to play our part in addressing the skills gap.”

The pool and Turkish baths – which holds fond memories for many people – opened in 1928 and closed to the public in April 2013.

The building will be given a new lease of life following a £5m refurbishment by Fusion Lifestyle, a sports and leisure management organisation and registered charity.

When the work is complete, the venue will feature a public pool and Turkish baths, fitness suites, exercise studios, a spa with treatment rooms and a café bistro.

Anthony said: “The documentary gives members of the public a behind the scenes look at the specialist restoration works going on in the building. We can’t wait for the project to be finished and for people to see it first-hand.

“Guy’s visit proves just how important the redevelopment of Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths really is.”

Guy added: “It’s massively important that firms like Fusion step in and save these buildings.

“Imagine if it was sold to a housing developer and turned into posh flats in the middle of Newcastle, what a waste and a shame that would have been.

“It’s great that it’s been done up in the original theme of the building, they’re keeping the swimming pool and tuning that into a gym, it’ll be bloody great!”

Episode two of Guy Martin: Building Britain is available to watch now on Channel 4 Catch Up: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/guy-martin-building-britain/on-demand/68509-002.

Members of the public can keep up to date with the redevelopment of Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths and see progress pictures by signing up at www.citypool.co.uk/#register.