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Pools On The Park (Richmond Baths)
1966 to Current

Pools on the ParkPools on the Park 1971 (Click image to view full size)

 

Pools on the ParkRichmond Baths in Parkshot opened in 1882.

Before the Second World War (1939-1945) Richmond Town Council was planning an open-air swimming pool and sports pavilion in Old Deer Park but postponed the £35,000 scheme in September 1938.

In 1966 Richmond Baths were finally replaced by what became known as “Pools on the Park”. This combination of indoor and outdoor pools, a Grade II listed building, was the work of Leslie Gooday.

At this time lidos were in operation in Twickenham, Hampton and Teddington; Richmond seems to have been late to join outdoor swimming, apparently missing the heyday of the lido movement.

Ian Whittaker used to go to the old Richmond pool next to the Magistrates Court. He said the water was heavily chlorinated and you ended up with red eyes.

Brenda Whittaker only went to Richmond once - around 1965. A new pool was being built which opened soon after that.

Julie McCarthy used to swim at Pools on the Park in the 1960s; she would go there in the summer and take picnics. It has an indoor and an outdoor pool. There used to be diving boards and spring boards which are no longer there.

Pools on the Park - Lidos Alive
Pools on the Park
Courtesy Jo Pond, Centre Manager - Pools on the Park

In 1989 Richmond Council was discussing the possibility of providing a pool/ice rink complex on the site of Pools on the Park. This would be financed by a community benefit, an S52 (later superseded by the S106) arising from the redevelopment by the London and Edinburgh Trust of the ice rink in East Twickenham.

Note: The ice rink was the focus of www.icerinx.com, an earlier Heritage Lottery project.

Council documents, that were not revealed to the public, suggested that there were difficulties regarding the lease with Waterslides plc, the company which had four sets of flumes (water slides) in Pools in the Park, known as Wild Waters.
  
It was suggested that reducing the £22.5M (the value of the S52 agreement) would facilitate the planning process for the ice-rink development.   Eventually, a smaller sum was agreed, that was spent on Pools on the Park.  There was wide belief among the public that a new ice rink would be built 
 
Information about these matters was circulated by Richard Meacock, who spent the last years of his life campaigning to keep an ice rink in the Borough.  

The outcome was that Waterslides plc went into administration and Wild Waters closed on 28 October 1989; the S52 money was invested in Pools on the Park.  

If you would like to participate in this memories project please email contact@lidosalive.com