Westminster Public Baths

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5 Responses to “Westminster Public Baths”

  1. Antony says:

    Yes, I learned to swim there with Miss Summers in the late 1950s and early 60s. I don’t think I got beyond the rubber ring stage as I was never able to stop water going up my nose if my head went under water (still can’t). There were two pools, one where I did all my swimming and the other that I glimpsed through its doors which I think had multiple diving boards. ‘My’ pool had wooden cubicles all around the perimeter, which had the inevitable wet floors, making putting socks on difficult!. The doors had large gaps at the bottom and the top was only about 5 feet from the floor, and I remember a large man who worked there looking in to check my progress with getting dressed when my mother had come to collect me.

  2. Marjie McKenna says:

    I learned to swim at this pool in the early 60s, walking from St Vincent De Paul School..up Grosvenor Rd, .. plastic floats and waterwings helped me to become a good swimmer.. going on to represent the school and the Brownies in many galas.
    I had a yearly pass which was hole-punched every admittance.. one year I never missed a day ..my costume and towel were always damp!!..happy days

  3. gordon thompson says:

    I learnt to swim there in 1962 a very small lady used to put a rope with an inner tube to stop chafing and walk along while you swam for my pcket money 2 shillings and we had our swimming school swimming galas there I think that was either st peters primary or buckingham gate school galas later we swam at marshall street.

  4. John Friesen says:

    In the summer of 1967 I traveled from Canada to England, and supported myself working as a pool attendant/lifeguard at a public pool across from Victoria Station. It was referred to by the people there as “Westminster Public Baths”. It is seems to have been in the same location on Buckingham Palace Road as Grosvenor Turkish Baths, but apparently this closed in 1893.
    I can’t find anything resembling it today on Google maps.
    For nostalgic reasons I am looking for any information or images that would be relevant to the time that I was there. I would appreciate anything you might know.

    • Amanda Harwood says:

      Hi – I learned to swim there and used both pools. Miss Summers and Miss Phillips were my Swimming teachers. You would have been working there at the time! I remember taking part in a sponsored swim, to raise money for our Olympic swimmer, Pat Bevan to attend the Munich Olympics. She trained at the pool and was coached by her husband?

      The ladies changing rooms had an attendant and a mangle to wring out our swimming costumes. I seem to remember dark wooden changing boxes, possibly mahogany.

      The small pool had cubicles around the edge. I can’t remember whether the large pool did as well and I’m not sure about the Male changing area.

      The pool entrance was very ornate – impressive tiles and a dark wooden reception/ticket booth. The entrance led through to the large pool and I remember walking along the left side of the pool, to a side entrance, for access through to the small pool.

      I seem to remember ascending a flight of steps from the pavement outside, to the main entrance.

      My mum went back to the Baths, when it was being demolished in the late 1960s, to see if she could retrieve any of the tiles, but they’d all been smashed and damaged. She did however, retrieve the blue and white enamel PAY HERE sign. Several years ago, she gave it to me and it is part of my Swimming memorabilia.

      I remember the pool as Victoria Baths – probably due to its close proximity to the train station.

      When the pool closed in the late 1960s, our swimming lessons moved to – Porchester Baths, Marshall Street Baths and Kensal Road Baths.

      I have such fond memories of swimming in these old London pools. I have always been fascinated by older swimming pools. I have been photographing and documenting pre-1940 indoor and outdoor pools around the UK for the last 37 years for a book/archive, I hope to finally complete soon.

      I would be interested to hear more about your memories about the old Westminster Baths.

      I went back to the site in the 1990s and there is no evidence that it ever existed. Just another modern building in its place.

      Regards Amanda Harwood

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