Deep in the innards of Newcastle's Eldon Square Shopping Mall you will find Eldon Leisure Squash Club.
Eldon Leisure - which hosted two British National Championships back in the nineties - used to have six courts, but that area was demolished and taken over by Next, and the proceeds were used to convert a two-badminton court room (a big room) into a new squash centre. Four state of the art ASB glassback courts are shoehorned into the area, three in a row - with moveable walls - and a fourth at 90 degrees which provides an entrance area and a little more viewing for court one.
Here's what Duty Manager Richard Adamson had to say about the new courts:-
"It was amazing to see the courts going up, I fought hard to make sure we kept squash courts during the renovations, we could have lost them entirely".
"I really wasn't sure how they were going to get the new squash courts into the area though, as it doesn't have a lot of access! The courts came 'flat-packed', but the pieces were pretty big - they were brought in by crane at night, the main road outside had to be closed while they were doing it, and they had to cut a big chunk out of the main doorway to get the pieces in".
The work was completed and the courts re-opened in September 2010, and despite Adamson's reservations about going from six to four, usage has remained high.
"We used to be really busy at peak times," he said, "some times we could have done with 20 courts, but what's happened is that our peak hours have been extended, people are booking earlier and later courts so the squash centre is busy for longer."
Eldon Squash remains popular and lively, with many city workers using it as a lunchtime or after-work workout, busy club sessions, three men's teams and a ladies team in the Northumbria county leagues, 8 divisions in the internal leagues and the new facility has a 'friendly club' atmosphere that many leisure centre facilities lack.