The School Swimming Pool

By Kathryn Betts

Raising the Funds

In July 1964, Mr Harding sent a letter to parents requesting their help in raising £250 towards the cost of the school swimming pool.

Photo:An extract from Mr Harding's letter, July 1964

An extract from Mr Harding's letter, July 1964

Photograph courtesy of Meldreth Primary School

By September, £90 had been raised and the Swimming Pool Committee decided to hold a sale of work at the end of October.  A letter was sent to parents which included the following suggestions for items that could be made for the sale of work:

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The School Swimming Pool' page

Photograph courtesy of Meldreth Primary School

The school also offered a child care service on Saturdays as part of the fund-raising drive:

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The School Swimming Pool' page

Photograph courtesy of Meldreth Primary School

The school successfully raised £250 towards the proposed swimming pool, and on 13th January 1965 the Education Authority granted the school the remaining £250 that was required to complete the project.


Building the Pool

The swimming pool was delivered on 19th March 1965 and work started on its erection.  The building of the pool was a collaborative effort.  The senior children worked energetically after school preparing the site and painting the sides of the pool.  With the help of parents the erection of the pool was completed in May and it was enclosed by a high wooden fence. 

Mr Harding recalled in 2000 that the children, "came with their buckets and spades and mixed minute amounts of concrete at a time and carried it to the men making the paths".

Later, 4000 bricks at the school entrance had to be carried up to the site of the new pump house and chimney.  "Again, the children came to the rescue: every child coming up the drive carried a brick or two to the site (yes, if you remember, even the infants!)  A veritable army of ants on the move."

Ernie Kay, the school’s first full time caretaker (previously a builder) built the pump house and the chimney.


The Opening of the Pool

Photo:The opening of the pool in 1965

The opening of the pool in 1965

Photographs courtesy of Meldreth WI


Photo:The Meldreth Ducklings Club

The Meldreth Ducklings Club

Photograph courtesy of Meldreth WI

The children were able to use the pool during the Whitsun holiday from 6th to 14th June.  A small pool belonging to the Mr Harding was also erected for the use of the smaller children.  On 21st July 1965 Miss Bowen officially opened the pool and all the children became members of The Duckling Club and received their membership cards.  According to the school log book, "all children have the opportunity of one immersion per day at least ".

Photo:Meldreth Ducklings Club: swimming progress

Meldreth Ducklings Club: swimming progress

Photographs courtesy of Meldreth WI

Photo:The school pool in use, July 1972

The school pool in use, July 1972

Photograph supplied by Iris Howell


This page was added by Kathryn Betts on 04/01/2011.
Comments about this page

I remember the Saturday that volunteers (parents and children) turned up to help pour and level the concrete base of the changing rooms and Mr Waldman taking charge to oversee it. The pool was fine when it was a hot day but mostly it was very cold and we had to skinnydip in those days. If we were slow changing Mr H would towel-flick our behinds to speed us up - it worked!

By Steve Crowther
On 29/06/2011

I was only at the school for a couple of years and really loved swimming, although Steve is right it was usually very cold! I am sure that as an 8 or 9 year old I remember boys and girls having to swim naked, but can't remember if it was just the younger kids or the whole school! Anyone else remember 'skinny dipping'?

By Josh
On 31/10/2013

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