Minehead Pool - image

National Somerset Swimming Pool – Minehead -1936

National Championship Pool Minehead Bathing Pool above – private postcard collection AGJ

Minehead Library – 1994

National Championship Pool

2000 people attended the opening of their magnificent bathing pool in June 1936. which would, in future,  have National recognition.

Despite poor weather conditions and forecasts, the crowds were not deterred, and they were rewarded by a sudden weather change and a spectacular Gala. Sir Robert Horne Chairman of the Great Western Rail Company, (past Chancellor of the Exchequer 1921-22 and  1st Viscount Horne of Slamannan 1937 – title now extinct)  paid tribute to  “An Adventurous Spirit.”  Other dignitaries were at the opening and were delighted with the aquatic entertainment.


National Somerset Baths Opening. Sir Robert Horne

Sir Robert Horne and Mrs Luttrell. West Somerset Free Press  1936 Taunton Archives Microfilm David Bromwich 1994

National renouned Minehead Bathing Pool - the Jewel of Somerset

Minehead Bathing Pool – the Jewel of Semester.1936  Photocopy of a  glass negative by Alfred Vowles. Sent by and personal to Mrs Joan Astell. March 1994

On Your Marks! – National Championships at the Pool.
Click on Picture to go to Pathe clip
On Your Marks - National Championships at the Pool.

International matches and  National Swimming /Diving Champions were decided in this beautiful pool.  On the National scene Western Counties High Diving Champion 14 years old Jane Selby of the Bath Dolphins and Coate Swimming Club opened the programme by beautiful swallow diving from the top board 33 feet high, into the 15 ft.depth of shimmering crystal clear water.
The future National and renouned 165ft by 60ft pool saw Cheltenham thrashing out an exciting water polo match with Somerset to eventually win 2-1

National Water Polo at Minehead - A Summers Day

A Summers Day.  Photocopy sent by Mrs Joan Astell March 1994

The only flaw in the perfection of past holidays in Minehead was bathing depending upon the tides.  This was  remedied by this magnificent national open air pool on the sea front.
Water was pumped from the sea, and every day 50,000 gallons of filtered, purified sparkling sea water was pumped into the pool EVERY HOUR. There was a gas decontamination centre behind the pool building.

National Somerset Pool

Photocopy  sent by Mrs Joan Astell from whom I derived much information 1994  Mrs Astell swam here from the age of 4yrs

There were many aquatic exhibitions.  These included Britains former National 3 Metre Champion Betty Slade.  Minehead’s top exhibition diver was Helen Orr.

The nationally known sea water pool was situated in ideal surroundings on the sea front.

Patrons enjoyed powerfully floodlit bathing  –  a superb restaurant run by William Hancock and Co. Caterers and sun bathing and eating on the terraces.
There were regular swimming,  diving and aquatic exhibitions.

Brave Boy jumpimg from the 10M platform

Pleased with himself! jumping from the 10M platform. Well done Jalopy!

The pool was equipped with top International and National diving facilities.  In addition to teaching many children to swim and dive,  many school galas and inter-club galas were held here.  Many regional and national galas were hosted by MineheadIt's a long way downAs escapism, hours and hours were spent basking in the sunshine, enjoying the fruits of the restaurant and relaxing from the days toils leaving problems back home. It was a sad day when the pool eventually closed.

OUTCOME: This fine national pool became derelict in the late 80’s, succombing to the dwindling of bathers.  There were many guaranteed cheap sunshine holidays abroad.

The concrete had also begun to disintergrate.  Butlins site just along the road was interested in taking it over. They were thinking of extending their enterprise towards the town.  But the land was bought by another  Company .

National Somerset Swimming Pool - Derelict

Dereliction. Photocopy of picture taken 1990: Joan Astell

National Somerset Bathing Pool Pool and Car park

Before and After – Top: Original form photocopied by Mrs Joan Astell Originally from glass negatives by Alfred Vowles.           Bottom: AGJ /2003 enlarge +


The site was cleared and was used as a car park,  until this area turned into luxury apartments. 

National Minehead Pool here

The Promenade of the “Bathing Pool” Luxury Apartments/ AGJ/ 2003

I wonder if the residents here know they are living on the site of a once  famous bathing pool?  Anymore hints?