VauxWall West Climbing Centre was set up by life-long climbers Jeremy Wilson and James Eves, who opened their first centre – Lakeland Climbing Centre in Kendal, Cumbria – in 1995 to enable keen Lake District climbers to continue practicing during bad weather.
The Vauxhall site opened in May 2014 becoming Lakeland Climbing Centre Ltd’s second site and their first in London.
The site opted for a railway arch because the location within Vauxhall is central within London and is also perfect for commuters, explains Paul Cottee, the centre manager for VauxWall West and the company’s VauxWall East location in nearby Lambeth.
“Vauxhall itself is a great commuter hub with people coming to and from work,” Cottee says. “Being in an arch is advantageous as we are a stone’s throw from the Underground station.”
Climbing is a very inclusive pursuit, and VauxWall West customers include people of all ages and a very even gender split. The site welcomes everyone from beginners right up to seasoned pros. The sport of bouldering does away with ropes and harnesses – people just need their climbing shoes to get going. From then on, it’s a case of plotting a course from the bottom to the top using technique, balance, strength and brainwork. Bouldering suits people of all shapes and sizes.
“VauxWall Climbing offers its patrons not just a premium facility bouldering wall, but the staff who run it are passionate climbers themselves who love to welcome everyone through the doors and into the sport,” Cottee adds. “Bouldering is a wonderful meditative sport. It allows you to forget whatever stresses you may have for a few hours and focus on getting from the bottom to the top of a four-metre wall.”
VauxWall employs 17 people across its two South London sites and the company wants to expand further. It is also active in the local business community as a member of Vauxhall One, a collaborative project that aims to improve the area for its residents, businesses and users.
“We would like to continue expanding the business as a whole and open more centres, we would also like to expand VauxWall West as well and potentially get a few more arches to join on,” Cottee concludes.
Find out more about VauxWall West at https://www.vauxwest.co.uk, look for @VauxWall on Twitter and Instagram, and VauxWall Climbing on Facebook.