Dursley Swimming Pool

Dursley's first swimming pool was located in Water Street and was provided by Mr Ayliffe for the benefit of the town's residents. By the late 19th century though, things were obviously going through more difficult times as evidenced by this entry from the Parish magazine for June 1879.

"The monthly meeting of the Church of England Temperance Society Branch was held on Tuesday evening, March 17th, in the Girls' School-room. Addresses were given by Rev. H.P. King, Rev. N.W. Gresley, Mr. J.G. Wenden, and a pleasant evening was spent - new members were admitted. We are anxious to recommend to the notice of the readers of the Parish Magazine, not only in Dursley, but also in the villages round, the announcement made by Mr. Ayliffe, proprietor of the Swimming Bath in this town, to the effect that unless he is liberally supported during this summer season, he will be obliged to close the bath next year. Mr. Ayliffe has provided a most comfortable, and even luxurious swimming bath for the benefit of the public; and it would be a great misfortune if the town were to be deprived of the healthy and pleasant recreation thus within the reach of all. The bath itself is about 36 feet square, and from 3 1/2 to 6 feet deep and is kept at a temperature of about 64 degrees. It is situated about 100 yards below the famous 'Broad Well' springs, and is, therefore, supplied with some of the best and purest water in the kingdom. Prices of admission - Annual Subscriber's ticket 21/- and 10/6; Ladies' Annual Subscriptions 10/6 (Bath open to Ladies only, from 11 till 1.30 daily); for a single bath ticket 6d. We heartily wish success to these Baths."

It seems that the Baths did not survive, although there was an attempt to reopen them in 1949. A Poll was taken to allow the public to vote on renovation which unfortunately did not get passed - Votes For 299, Votes Against 392.

Although there were attempts to build a new pool throughout the 20th century, it wasn't until the early 1980s when things began to take shape. Plans were drawn up to build a new pool on the present Castle Street site and a design competition was opened up to invite tenders. The competition was won by the Architect firm of Faulkner Browns and planning permission for the design was given in 1983. The building was described as "an energy conscious, high quality enclosure situated on a south facing site and contains a deck pool of 225 sq. metres in area. The pool will be flexible in use and contains 25 metre lanes, a children's and learner's lagoon of shallower water, and a deep end which can be used for training purposes. The roof is of special interest in that it is mono-pitch with a large radius glazed barrel vault on the high north side."

Work didn't begin for a few years though but the commemorative foundation stone was finally laid on September 29th 1987. Construction continued through to the summer of 1988 when the pool eventually opened, the official ceremony taking place on October 11th 1988, attended by The Princess Royal.

  Picture Gallery (Click on picture for larger view)

Swimming Pool construction is under way
Work begins with excavation and construction of the earth bank retaining wall.
(Spring 1987 - copyright David Evans)

    The construction site takes shape
Clearance of the building site is complete and work starts on the new building with less than six months before opening.
(1988 - courtesy Cam & Dursley Camera Club)
    Swimming Pool construction site
The earth bank retaining wall is visible here as preparation gets underway for construction of the main pool building.
(1988 - courtesy Cam & Dursley Camera Club)
    The water is in and the roof is on
The pool is complete and filled with water during testing while the rest of the building nears completion.

(1988 - copyright Bailey Newspaper Group)
    Final tidying
The pool is empty again and tidying continues at the new pool, pictured here just before inspection by Stroud District Council.

(June 10th 1988 - copyright Bailey Newspaper Group)
    Dursley Swimming Pool
Dursley's swimming pool on Castle Street creates an appealing appearance in the town and is always well patronised.
(May 4th 2003)
    Swimming Pool barrel vault roof design
The large radius glazed barrel vault on the north side of the swimming pool building is clearly visible in this view from the recreation ground. (November 16th 2003)