National Championship Pool Minehead Bathing Pool above – private postcard collection AGJ
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.
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
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.
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.
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 MineheadAs 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 .
The site was cleared and was used as a car park, until this area turned into luxury apartments.
I wonder if the residents here know they are living on the site of a once famous bathing pool? Anymore hints?