Birmingham – The Swimming Clubs

The following is taken directly from The City of Birmingham Baths Department 1851 – 1951. The work was written and compiled by J. Moth M.N.A.B.S Birmingham 1951 and is presented here.

Kent Street Baths had been opened some eleven years before the City’s first Swimming Club was formed in 1862 under the title of the ‘Birmingham Amateur Swimming Club’. It seems fitting that this Club, claimed to be the oldest in the country, was later to become amalgamated with Birmingham’s second oldest Swimming Club ‘Leander’ formed in 1877 and meeting at Northwood Street Baths. The names of both Clubs are preserved in the title ‘Birmingham and Leander Swimming Club’, and its members now meet (1951) at the Woodcock Street Baths.

Woodcock Street Baths Club BathRecognising the contribution which Swimming Clubs make in the best interests of health, recreation and sport, their activities have always been encouraged, and today (1951) a record number of Clubs enjoy facilities at the various establishments in the City.

Three Pools at Grove Lane, Moseley Road and Woodcock Street, are set on one side for the exclusive use of Clubs between the hours of 5.0 p.m. and 9.0 p.m. Monday to Friday each week, and a further fifteen periods are reserved at the remaining establishments for Clubs which can justify these special facilities for swimming, water polo and diving. Smaller Clubs find no difficulty in carrying out their activities with members of the public present.

Club members are admitted at reduced charges at all times and each registered Club is permitted a free Annual Gala ; Baths may be hired for any event to which members of the public are admitted on payment, and the proceeds of these events defray the expenses involved and contribute to the funds of the Club concerned. Free facilities are also afforded the Royal Life Saving Society to assist that Organisation in its worthy efforts.

Woodcock Street Gala BathIn addition to the eighty or more Clubs at present registered with the Department, the Swimming Sections of bodies such as the Sea Cadets and Boy Scouts meet at the various Baths during the week.

With a view to aiding the Clubs in bringing before the public first class swimming entertainment, the Baths Committee during the past few years has, in co-operation with the Warwickshire Amateur Swimming Association and the Birmingham Association of Swimming Clubs, staged special events at the Woodcock Street Gala Bath, notable amongst which were the International Speed Swimming Contest for the Bologna Trophy (1949), in which England, Scotland and Wales participate annually, and a visit as part of a tour organised by the Baths Department in 1950, of the ‘Het Y’ Swimming Club of Amsterdam.

The result of this co-operation between the Baths Committee and the Clubs will be manifest from the exceptionally attractive programme arranged for the Centenary Celebrations.


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