Author Topic: Southampton Central Baths  (Read 2485 times)

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Online John

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Southampton Central Baths
« on: October 18, 2015, 11:47:25 am »
Southampton Central Baths opened in the early 1960's at Western Esplanade. An absolute nightmare of a place from my point of view - as a schoolchild we had compulsory swimming lessons there, and as I'm a non-swimmer who screams if I see a raindrop, let alone a swimming pool, it doesn't hold any happy memories for me.

On entering the main lobby, we would be confronted by huge windows which looked underwater into the 16' 6" deep end of the pool, a great way to watch people pretending that they weren't really drowning and were enjoying every second of it. Oh, the joy of athlete's foot, the healthy sting of chlorine, the witty banter with sadistic teachers - how I don't miss any of it  ;D
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Online pomme homme

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Re: Southampton Central Baths
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2015, 13:13:55 pm »
But at least, presumably, the water was warm in the pool at Southampton Central Baths! At my primary school, the PTA had raised the money for the school to have its own outdoors, above ground pool. The changing rooms were, effectively, wooden garden huts without any form of insulation. I still remember how cold it was to change in them and how much colder still the water was, early or late in the season, when one entered the pool. I keep telling myself that I remember the teachers breaking the ice on the surface of the pool before we littl'uns jumped in - but in all honesty, I think that to be my imagination running away with me!

Online John

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Re: Southampton Central Baths
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2015, 16:09:47 pm »
I don't remember if the water was warm or not, but I do know it was pumped in from the Estuary and dosed with chlorine to such an extent that we all went away from there with glowing red eyes. People swam there for fun  ???
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Online John

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Re: Southampton Central Baths
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2017, 16:55:24 pm »
I shudder with terror just looking at this - brings back 'orrible memories  ;D
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Timc

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Re: Southampton Central Baths
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2017, 16:03:58 pm »
Remember it well. At infant school we had a teacher who would singlehandedly  take the whole class from Hythe, over to Soton on the ferry for our dose of chlorine. Have the recollection of the highlight being a big fat sausage roll to eat when we came out.  Strange things you remember.

Online John

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Re: Southampton Central Baths
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2021, 07:53:51 am »
Another view of the torture chamber swimming baths.
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Offline PNK

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Re: Southampton Central Baths
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2021, 10:20:13 am »
I used to enjoy swimming at grammar school as it was a break from lessons. We used Eltham baths and Woolwich baths. Jumping the chlorine dip was a challenge though as most slipped. I also suspect the in the sixties (school days) the facilities at all public baths were the same as when they first opened, apart from the vending machine dispensing oxtail soup, which probably only tasted good after swimming. Not sure what these old places offer in the modern era.

Offline TimCowen

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Re: Southampton Central Baths
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2021, 18:01:17 pm »
When I was at Hendon in 1973, we had an indoor swimming pool which I suspect harked back to the days of RAF Hendon. Whether we liked it or not, could swim or not,  we all had to line up and jump off the top board. How I managed it I shall never know.
We also used the pool to practice kyak capsizing and righting. I think it was called an Eskimo roll !!! Not sure how I managed that either. Never had that at Southampton .

Online John

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Re: Southampton Central Baths
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2023, 06:46:06 am »
I feel ill just looking at this..
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Offline Kyn

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Re: Southampton Central Baths
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2023, 17:59:38 pm »
It is a very impressive building.  I think we should do a tour of all swimming pools in Kent to record them for the forum  ;D