History

Below are two collections of memories which document the history of Cirencester Open Air Swimming Pool, the first 'Our Journey So Far' by Winifred Waites and the second 'Memories' by Clem Maslin. If you have any photos or stories you want to add, please send them in!!

Our Journey So Far

by Winifred Waites

It was in May 1869 that a group of businessmen in Cirencester endeavoured to promote a private enterprise that was to benefit Cirencester town right up to the present day, well over a hundred years.

They had conceived the idea of providing a "swimming bath", and approached Lord Bathurst for help in finding a suitable site. Finally it was decided that the best place was the meadow at the rear of the Barracks Yard, which was approached by a footpath from Thomas Street, by way of the path beside the stream leading to the Mill in Barton Lane. Lord Bathurst also made a donation of £25 towards the scheme, and a prospectus for launching a limited company was published, offering for sale shares at £5 each. Apparently the project was regarded with much favour as within a day or two, a large proportion of the shares were taken up. On July 10th 1869 the Company was registered with limited liability. The Directors appointed to act until the first...

Memories

by C. W. Maslin

I well remember the Cirencester Open Air Swimming Pool way back in the late nineteen twenties and nineteen thirties when the cost of a season ticket was only a few shillings and there was no mixed bathing permitted until the early thirties.

The water heating and purifying systems were installed in the early nineteen thirties and I understand that some of this equipment is still in use to this day. Prior to this time the pool would close I think at 6 p.m. on Saturdays to enable Mr James who was then the pool attendant to empty and clean the pool ready for it to be refilled with fresh and very cold water from an adjacent well on the Sunday. Sunday bathing in those days was not permitted and changing cubicles enclosed the pool on both sides.

It was in the early nineteen thirties that Mr Eric Cole started the Swimming and Water Polo Club which received excellent support from many quarters. A water polo team was formed and entered the Three Counties League where after a few seasons began to meet with quite some success. Matches were played against teams from Bristol, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Swindon, Hereford, Chippenham, Stroud, Worcester and Evesham. At Stroud we used to play in the canal and at Chippenham in the river before both clubs...

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