Millwall Park Open-Air Swimming Pool

In the 1970s, the view from Stebondale St. over Millwall Park and the Mudchute looked like this.

millwall-parkrmi8-14885673557

Photo: Peter Wright

30 years previously the view looked like this (photo by Mrs. Smith and the Island History Trust Collection), taken from the upstairs rear window of a house in Stebondale Street. The large construction in the foreground is Millwall Park open-air swimming pool. Just visible between it and the Mudchute is the roof of the rope-walk.

untitled22

This 1950 map shows clearly the location of the swimming pool. The houses along Stebondale St. were destroyed by WWII bombing and replaced with prefabs.

pool

The pool was built by Poplar Borough Council, and opened in 1925, having cost £10,495. It was 150ft by 60ft and it stood within a walled enclosure 200ft long and 90ft wide, which also contained forty dressing boxes, nine dressing shelters and a number of ancillary buildings.

On completion the pool was handed over to the LCC, which was responsible for its administration and finance, the costs being shared equally by the two Councils. A filtration plant was installed in 1930 and charges for bathers were subsequently introduced; until then admission had been free.

The following three photos are courtesy of the Sale Family – the late Frank Herbert Sale is standing on the diving board in the first photo.

frank-herbert-sale-standing-15072230415

frank-herbert-sale-2nd-from-right-15071863672

frank-herbert-sale-left-14885523899

1920-swimming-pool-15049225086

The rear of houses in Stebondale St, with Christ Church in the background.

In the following photo, the Builder’s Arms is visible in the background. The pub, at 99 Stebondale St. was damaged beyond repair during WWII.

stebondale-iod-swimming-pool-15072229735

millwall-park-june-1931-28167616424

Photo: Island History Trust Collection / G. Thurgar

c1920-pool-15072232115

During the first night of the Blitz, the bombing which destroyed most houses in Stebondale St. also damaged the swimming pool.

1950-millwall-park-14885289339

1950

millwall-park-1959-16363544885

Photo courtesy of David Lloyd. c1960

The shored up swimming pool would remain in place until the 1960s, when it was demolished to make room for a One O’Clock club and a short-lived adventure playground.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Millwall Park Open-Air Swimming Pool

  1. Lorane says:

    What a strange coincidence! I have just started reading Poplar Memories by John Hector and his book mentions an open air swimming pool on the Isle of Dogs. I thought it was a mistake until I asked around. My husband remembers it as a ‘playground’ after sustaining WWII damage. I asked my Mum and she confirmed it as a working pool. I thought the only open air swimming pool was Victoria Park Lido…..and now you have written about it and published photos. Amazing that no-one had ever mentioned it before and now I read about it twice!

    On reading the book it appears that there were more facilities for the local people in the 20s and 30s than in the 60s.

  2. Harry Sprackling says:

    Hi. This was a favourite place for us to kids to play in the late 1940s. There was a big bomb hole almost in the middle of the pool and when it rained it became a small paddling pool. The cubicles were very good for hiding. After coming from the pool we could explore the old pub very near the gates just before it got demolished. It was also very easy to get into the creek of the mudshoot and catch our newts and tadpoles which were in an abundance in the warmer months. About the same time as they decided to demolish the pool it was turned into a couple of hard court football pitches known locally as “The Rec”. That was the time of all the prefabs being built in that area. It was a very safe area then with no problem with us kids visiting each other after dark. A great place to grow up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s