NEW FERRY SWIMMING BATHS, 1970s
Text and photos
submitted by Geoffrey Markley, 3rd October 2009
Vauxhall Diving Club used the pool in the winter when it was
closed to the public. I was a member and we used to go on Saturday
mornings. The pool was always in a right mess towards the end of
winter with all the dead leaves from the surrounding trees (a big slimy
to dive under the ice when the pool froze over. The 'caretaker'
always had the kettle on for cups of hot Oxo, which was very
welcome on those chilly mornings.
as I can remember, they used to drain and clean each pool in turn. There
where 3 pools then: a paddling pool about 1 foot deep, the medium pool
about four to six foot deep, and the large pool which I am standing in.
"On the day
the top photo was taken, we had come to do our training as usual, but as you
the pool had been drained and was waiting for repairs and painting.
I think it was probably about March when this was taken. At that
time, the high diving board had been reduced to about half its
original height - probably for safety reasons. However, one amusing
memory I have from before it was lowered was when my brother decided to
jump off it with his wet suit on; when he hit the water, it pushed his
wet suit so far up that it trapped his arms and it took two men to get
the suit off and free him!
photo - taken on another occasion, and blurred due to the
water quality - you can see myself in the left foreground trying out my
brother's aqua lung. My dad is in the background watching me.
training session in winter it was the custom to dive in the freezing
cold water without your wetsuit. Anyone who
didn't was usually chased by the rest of the club, and thrown in anyway. And I mean,
it was FREEZING!!
In the third photo, my dad was first in - jumping through a very
very thin layer of ice which was on the water surface. As you can
see in the last photo, I cheated and kept my wetsuit on. On that
occasion I managed to out-run everyone and avoided the obligatory
dunking. I was about 14 at the time.
Birkenhead Swimming Club's water polo team (the best on the country at
that time!!) played the occasional match in the pool. They ALWAYS
won! Maybe they were just so well adapted to the cold conditions -
as sometimes the water was freezing! The swimming club held galas
"I think it
was a great loss to the community when the pool closed."