Wembley Empire Pool - of Empire and Olympic Fame - 1933

Wembley Empire Pool – of Empire and Olympic Fame – 1933

Wembley Empire Pool 1947 above.  An International Water Polo match

Wembley Empire Pool – Olympic Games “Citius, Altius, Fortius” Quicker, Higher, more Strongly

The Pride and Joy of the Country, was this fine and largest indoor pool in the world. It was built during 1933, and was ready for the Empire Games in 1934. The National events were held in 1936 followed by the European Championships in 1938. 

Wembley Empire Pool - set for the Olympics 1948 - imageAll set for the Empire Games 1934. Wembley Area Library 1994


Wembley Empire Pool during the Empire Games 1934 and the 30s

Great British aquatic stars performed in this pool, namely Messrs. J Rasch and T Mather becoming Champions on springboard and highboard respectively; Miss E MacReady, Highboard Empire Champion in 1934. Mr C.D Tomalin clinched the Highboard title in 1936; Miss Betty Slade became European Springboard champion in 1938.

With the oncoming of the war years the pool was floored over and used as a great ice rink. […]

Cardiff Empire Pool. Another great pool built for the Empire Games 1958

…In 1948, ten miles of piping were removed and the pool was opened up again, ready for the highlight of the decade – the Olympic Games.


Wembley Empire Pool Olympic Games 1948

Diving,  swimming and water polo from the 1948 Olympics in this utube video link below.  What would the rock, gig and audiences of TV presentations  of today make of this.  They’d never believe it!


Wembley Empire Pool - 1948 Olympic Swimmers - image

Wembley Empire Pool. The Ladies British Olympic Games Swimming Team 1948 by kind permission of Rob Baker enlarge +


Wembley Empire Pool - Olympic Games - Empire Games 1934 - Wembley Stadium and Pool - image

Empire Games with Swimming and Diving. Pathe – The NEW Wembley Pool 02.16 into the clip


High Diving and Swimming in the Empire Pool, 1948 Olympics.


Olympic Games 1948 – Quiet time at the Pool.  Courtesy of Mr. C. Burt – Swimming Coach

USA divers swept the boards at the Olympics, namely Mr Bruce Harlan – Springboard and Dr Sammy Lee – Highboard with Miss V Draves gaining both titles. There was strong opposition from British divers and swimmers that did Britain proud, many reaching the Olympic, European and Empire finals.


Wembley Empire pool - the BBC at Wembley - image

Wembley Empire Pool – the BBC at Wembley for the 1948 Olympic Games.  BBC Olympic Archive

OUTCOME: Surprisingly this fine Wembley Empire pool was closed following the Olympics

Olympic Games - The Opening of the Empire Pool Wembley - image

The Opening of the Empire Pool Wembley 1933 by HRH The Duke of Gloucesterclick on Pathe clip

The pool was never to be opened as a swimming pool again.  The name changed and became Wembley Arena, staging top events as Horse Trials, Ice Spectaculars, Exhibitions of all types, Sports Tournaments, Pop Concerts and many more. How many people from recent generations realise they are sitting on top of a once majestic swimming pool? – and… it’s still there – underneath!  Undo a trap door and you are in the basin.


If time see notes about Johnny Weissmuller and Co.  AquaShow stars at Wembley just before closure as a swimming pool!




and a bit of fun…