Portobello Bathing Pool. The Wonder Swim Pool – No. 1 Sporting Stadium was opened by Lord Provost Louis S. Gumley on 30th May 1936.
Portobello Bathing Pool saw despite poor weather 10,000 people who were testimony to the spectacle.
Quoted from the The Scotsman June 1st 19 36. “….The Lord Provost
“I did not think any honest critic of civic administration in Edinburgh could say they were lacking in enterprise. He said that for efficiency and initiative they were second to none in this country. he would not stay to speak of the many interesting and unique features of this great bathing establishment, but in a word he was sure everyone would agree it was a really magnificent piece of work….”
Several thousand were unable to gain admission on this historic day. The pool was the largest in Europe and could seat 6000. The crowds were rewarded when the sun shone through torrential bouts of rain.
To add to the “showers” the artificial wave machine was set in motion. This was the first of it’s kind. There was so much laughter as the foam flecked breakers dashed onto the “beach,” and unsuspecting spectators were christened by the spray!
Flotation displays took place by the Renfrew School Team followed by Prunella Stack leading the diving display from the 10 metre board. She showed grace, ability and much charm.
The display was full of thrills including Mr Tommy Mather, the British Empire High Diving Champion and Olympic Representative. Ex Champions L.G. Marchant followed on with W.G. Stanton and Miss Cicley Cousens – a Coate diver – the National Ladies High Diving Champion.
After many twists and turns, the display rounded off with the grace of the running “swallow” with thunderous applause from the crowd to greet them.
Miss Eileen Wharbuton, a Portobello swimmer together with Mrs Nan Cross gave demonstrations of good swimming style.
Film fans would be delighted to learn that Sean Connery was a former Lifeguard here at “Porty!”
The first EVER “Wave Machine” served well. Army troops were sent on a mission to try out sea sickness pills. What better facilities could there be 1959. But there were shock waves too…in 1970 the No. 1 Worlds magnicent Bathing Pool’s future was in balance
There was major public outcry and petitions – a major petitioner being Sean Connery himself. But it all ended with the shock move.
OUTCOME: Due to climatic changes, patrons change of holiday habits (and going where there is guaranteed sun,) “Porty” went the same route as most open air pools. “Porty” was closed and demolished in 1988. After much debate it was decided to create Five Aside Football on the pool site.
Portobello’s Wonder Swim Pool – a No. 1 World Sporting Stadium (Daily Record and Mail Saturday May 30th 1936)