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Sir Michael Sobell

Green plaque: 'Sir Michael Sobell, 1892-1993 - recognising his contribution towards this centre for the local community'Sobell Leisure Centre, Hornsey Road, N7: recognising Sir Michael Sobell's contribution towards this centre for the local community


Plaque unveiled on 7 September 2010

Businessman and philanthropist Sir Michael Sobell donated £1.1million towards the costs of building Islington's Sobell Leisure Centre, which opened in 1973.

A plaque commemorating his gift was unveiled at the leisure centre in Hornsey Road by his daughter, Hilda Rubin.

Councillor Catherine West, Leader of Islington Council, said: "Sir Michael Sobell's gift made a huge difference to our residents' lives and continues to do so today. This plaque is a way of recognising Islington's continuing gratitude. Almost 40 years on, the Sobell Leisure Centre is one of Islington's best-loved places and we're committed to its future."

Speaking at the opening, Gaie Scouller, Sir Michael Sobell's grand-daughter and a trustee of the Sobell Foundation, said: "I know how thrilled my grandfather would have been to see the centre still in place, thriving after a generation. May it continue to thrive for many years to come."

Sir Michael was knighted in 1972 for his contribution to charitable works. The Sobell Leisure Centre was just one of many projects that he helped to fund. He died in 1993, aged 101.

The total cost of building the Sobell Centre was more than £2 million, paid for in part by the Variety Club of Great Britain and Islington Council.

The centre houses an ice rink, sports hall, squash courts, gym and exercise classes and today around half a million people visit each year. Islington Council is currently investing in the centre's future with £1.7 million of repairs and upgrades.