St Leonards Bathing Pool above from a private postcard collection AGJ
Hastings St Leonards Bathing Pool was one of Britains Finest opened on May 27th 1933. Sir Humphry Rolleston G.C.V.O. declared the pool open in front of 5,000 spectators.
The Bathing Pool saw over loaded buses making their way along the promenade to join in and enjoy this momentous occasion. Sunshine added the final touch to the glorious scene of colour seen in the great bathing pool. Festooned in flags and bunting, hundreds of swimmers were awaiting the first gun to indicate the “big splash.”
The Official Party took place in the sun bathing section of the luxurious medical Baths at White Rock. Dressed in scarlet robes […]
Minehead Pool similar demise. Somerset’s “On your marks …GO”
…Mayor, Cllr. H.Burden introduced Sir Humphry, and asked him to declare the pool open. The gun was fired, 250 bathers plunged into the dazzling clear blue waters.
A thrilling moment came when Dare-Devil Leslie stood poised on the edge of a 60 ft drop.
He flung off his cloak and launched into a perfect swallow dive. A parade of Victorian/Edwardian bathing costumes, the latest Jantzen costumes and beach suits followed. Diving and swimming exhibitions intermingled with the celebrations.
Sir Humphry was then taken on an inspection of the 330ft. by 90ft pool, which held a million gallons of water. The pool graduated in depth from 2 ft to 15 ft. under the fine International diving stage. The Bathing Pool staged many National Swimming and Diving Championships, and thus hosted many an International star.
Adding weight behind this, Mr T Mather, Empire Highboard Champion 1934 was the manager of the pool. New ways of diving training were introduced, including belts and trampolining. Winifred Gibson of ASA Author fame held her excercise classes on the decks of the pool. Plus fashion and beauty shows.
This fine bathing pool lent its vastness and versatility, to eventually becoming a very popular Holiday Camp in 1960.
In addition to the immense pleasurable activities and events, there was the serious” stuff” too!
OUTCOME: Due to package holidays available, bathers dwindled. When threats of closure raised it’s ugly head, much debate and public outcry resulted. Ideas were to turn the site into a marine centre; a roofing business; holiday complex; luxury housing. None transpired.
“Hi-de-Hi” days were over at Hastings St Leonards Bathing Pool. By 1989 the beautiful pool was razed to the ground. The rubble was ground down, and used for cement to help reconstruct the sea wall, and to build a cycle way.
I wondered over the site imagining the laughter and hearing the splashes. I wonder how many of my visitors have actually swum here?