The History of UK Pilates


This history timeline is part of an ongoing research project and therefore not yet definitive

Pilates was first practised and taught in Britain by Joseph Pilates during his internment on the Isle of Man

Pilates-based exercises (but not referred to as “Pilates”) taught at the London College of Dance and Drama

Traces of Pilates influence at Ballet Rambert (Graham Technique)

Plans for the first British Pilates studio at The Place

Alan Herdman became the first British Pilates teacher and opened the first British Pilates studio at The Place

Dreas Reyneke opened the second British Pilates studio after having apprenticed under Alan Herdman

Gordon Thomson apprenticed under Alan Herdman and taught at The Place until 1981

Sonia Noonan apprenticed under Alan Herdman and taught at The Place until 2010

Michael King began attending classes with Alan Herdman at the Place and then apprenticed under Alan until 1981

Hana Jones first attended Pilates classes at The Place, going on to apprentice with Gordon Thomson in 1982

Alan Herdman set up his first Pilates studio outside The Place – the Alan Herdman Pilates Studio, Homer Row, London

Penny Latey started learning Pilates with Alan Herdman and attending classes with Gordon Thomson at The Place. She went on to apprentice under Dreas Reyneke in the early ‘80s before leaving for Australia in 1988 where she opened her own studio in 1989

Avi Shoshana apprenticed under Alan Herdman before opening his own studio in Sloane Street, London

Gordon Thomson continued to run the Body Control Studio at The Place after Alan’s departure until 1981, with Sonia Noonan who continued there until 2010

Alan Herdman started working with physiotherapists at the Royal Ballet School and the English National Ballet to analyse Pilates exercises and adapt them when required for an individual

Gordon Thomson opened the Body Control and Rehabilitation Studio at London’s Urdang Academy, Covent Garden, London

Michael King opened his Body Control Studio at Pineapple Dance Studios, Covent Garden, London

Allan Menezes attended classes with Michael King and then Alan Herdman. He then apprenticed under and worked for Alan before leaving for Australia to set up his first studio in 1986

Trevor Blount started Pilates classes with Dreas Reyneke in 1983 and then apprenticed under Alan Herdman in 1985

Michael King left London to run the Pilates studio at Houston Ballet School in Texas which Alan Herdman had established

Gordon Thomson took over the studio space Michael King vacated at Pineapple Dance Studios, Covent Garden and Hana Jones ran the studio for Gordon

Gordon Thomson left The Urdang Academy to open a second Body Control and Rehabilitation studio in Pineapple’s new Dance Studios, Harrington Row, South Kensington

Anne-Marie Zulkahari joined Alan Herdman in Homer Row in 1985 after apprenticing under Fran Lehen in New York in the early 1980s

Hana Jones set up her own studio, Pilates off the Square, in Orange Street, London with the help of Portland Green, moving it to Danceworks, London in 1988

Rael Isacowitz apprenticed under Hana Jones after attending classes with Alan Herdman and Avi Shoshana before leaving for Australia in 1988 to set up his first Pilates studio in a dance school in Sydney

Susanne Lahusen started teaching Pilates matwork at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, having apprenticed with Gordon Thomson in 1982. She then set up a Pilates studio at Laban in 1989

Helge Fisher apprenticed under Gordon Thomson

Clovissa Newcombe apprenticed under Alan Herdman and then taught at his studio for many years

Jane Paris opened the first Pilates studio in Scotland at the Edinburgh Pilates Centre, having apprenticed under Avi Shoshana at his studio in Sloane Street, London in 1989

Trevor Blount set up his own studio in Harrington Road, South Kensington

Jenny Bintley opened the first Pilates studio at Baron’s Court, London for the Royal Ballet Company and the Royal Ballet Upper School after apprenticing under Alan Herdman and Anne-Marie Zulkahari

Jenny Bintley set up a Pilates studio at the Birmingham Royal Ballet and Jane Paris took over running the Pilates Studio at Baron’s Court, shared between the Royal Ballet Company and the Royal Ballet Upper School

Abby Ward opened Body Conditioning Studio – a Pilates studio on the floor below Dreas Reyneke’s studio, after having apprenticed with Dreas

Chris Blagdon took over the Pilates studio at the Edinburgh Pilates Centre, having apprenticed under Gordon Thomson and also under Hana Jones at the Urdang Academy

Anne-Marie Zulkahari opened her studio, Pilates, Yoga and Movement in Kilburn, London

Lynne Robinson completed a matwork and apparatus teacher training certification under Gordon Thomson, after having first been introduced to Pilates by Penny Latey in Sydney, Australia and then becoming a student with her in 1993

Peter Cook trained under Alan Herdman and then joined the Pilates team at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (“Laban”)

the Pilates Foundation was founded by Trevor Blount, Anne-Marie Zulkahari and Hana Jones and later registered and incorporated in 1996 with Alan Herdman as Chair and Dreas Reyneke as Deputy Chair

Body Control Pilates Association was created, co-founded by Lynne Robinson and Gordon Thomson and then registered and incorporated in 1997

Dr Charlotte Cowie became Body Control Pilates’ consulting practitioner until 1998 when physiotherapist Jacqueline Knox became associated with Body Control Pilates

the first Body Control Pilates matwork teacher training course was delivered, created by Lynne Robinson, Gordon Thomson and Helge Fisher, with input from Cheryl Liss, Mitsi Pippa and Miranda Bass

new research by physiotherapists in Queensland, Australia on the function of the transversus abdominus enabled the medical world to acknowledge the benefits of Pilates exercises for people with back problems

the Pilates Foundation were granted the first collective trademark and the Trademark Registry recognised Pilates as a generic term

‘Body Control The Pilates Way’ by Lynne Robinson and Gordon Thomson – the first British Pilates book aimed at the general public and the first of many further Body Control books, training manuals and a series of videos that helped to build wider public awareness of Pilates over the following years

the Pilates Foundation created the first fully comprehensive training syllabus for a teaching qualification in both matwork and studio apparatus

Hana Jones left Pilates off the Square to set up a private teaching practice at Andrew Harwich’s osteopathic clinic in Kings Cross, London and Nicola Preisig, Sian Williams and Dominique Jansen became proprietors of Pilates off the Square

Body Control Pilates physiotherapist workshops were delivered from 1998 to 2002 introducing Pilates to physiotherapists in hospitals, led by Lynne Robinson and Helge Fisher, supported by Jacqueline Knox and Paul Massey

Pilates off the Square set up a Pilates studio for the Central School of Ballet, London

Michael King founded the Pilates Institute UK with Malcolm Muirhead and Nuala Coombs in London and created a programme to train Pilates teachers

Jacqueline Knox opened a physiotherapy Pilates studio after training with Body Control Pilates in London

Jane Paris moved from Baron’s Court to run the new Pilates studio at the Royal Opera House which was purpose-built for the Royal Ballet Company

Ellie Ionnidou completed the Body Control Pilates teacher training and then, with Gordon Thomson, opened the Pilates Education and Research studios in Kensington and Chelsea

Australian physiotherapists Elisa and Glenn Withers trained with Michael King and his team at the Pilates Institute UK in London

Glenn and Elisa Withers co-founded the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute (APPI) and created the APPI Pilates Method and then began their teacher-training program in the UK

Body Control Pilates Education Ltd, a new company co-directed by Lynne and Leigh Robinson, took over the creation and delivery of teacher-training courses after the original teacher training partnership between Lynne Robinson, Helge Fisher and Gordon Thomson disbanded. Gordon Thomson continued as a consultant and director of the teacher membership body, Body Control Pilates Association

Alan Herdman set up a physiotherapy clinic at his Marble Arch studio for the late Shirley Hancock. Alan referred clients who required physiotherapy to Shirley until the client was at the appropriate stage of rehabilitation to be referred back to Alan and his team to continue with Pilates

Susanne Lahusen founded and was course leader of the Pilates Foundation year-long matwork teacher training course, co-delivered by Sonia Noonan and Hana Jones

Elizabeth Anderson set up the UK branch of Polestar Pilates Education in London

The Pilates Institute created Level 2 Pilates qualification with Oxford and Cambridge RSA (OCR) which was the first of its kind in the world

APPI opened their first dedicated Pilates studio in Hampstead, London which was the first Pilates studio to include Ultrasound Imaging to view deep core muscles in real time

Peter Cook, Head of Pilates and Health at Laban, assisted architects in the development of a large, dedicated Pilates studio in the new premises of Laban in Deptford, London. Peter also initiated a 2-year training programme in all aspects of Pilates accredited by the Pilates Foundation

The Pilates Foundation, Alan Herdman, Michael King and Body Control Pilates set up a working group to create a Level 3 Pilates Matwork Standard which was introduced in 2005

Anoushka Boone and Mike Perry set up Pilates in Motion in West London. Anoushka began her training with Alan Herdman and completed it with Gordon Thomson in 1992. Mike trained with Dominique Jansen at Pilates off the Square and qualified in 2004

Michael King and his partner, Malcolm Muirhead, established MK Pilates and continue to train teachers internationally and to present at conferences all over the world

APPI opened their second centre in Wimbledon, South West London and also opened a dedicated centre in Kilburn, London as a global headquarters for their educational courses

Gordon Thomson stepped down from his roles with Body Control Pilates Association and set up Pilates Body Europe, creating a complete series of Pilates apparatus course manuals and opening a new studio in Gloucester Road, Kensington