Kingstanding Swimming Baths

Memories of Kingstanding Swimming

Memories of Dennis Elwell

Kingstanding Swimming Baths 1946. Copyright Dennis Elwell

Dennis Elwell is far left.

Memories of Charles Southam

Charles Southam recalled the provision of swimming trunks and the fashion in trunks during the 1940’s at Kingstanding baths. Charles said, “ If you hadn’t got a swimming costume you could hire what they called slips. They were almost like ‘V’ shaped pieces of material, front and back. You could tie them at the sides. They weren’t very good so when I had to use them I got two.” Charles also recalled the boy’s trunk that would have been worn there. “ A lot of swimming trunks in those days were woollen. When you came out of the water they were sagging and you had to be quite careful they didn’t come off.” Charles went on to recall how the baths were boarded over to make way for dance nights during the 1940’s .

Memories of Harry Felton

As near l can   remember to get a free pass we had to swim a couple of lengths in a certain   time as to prove yourself proficient.A free pass entitled you to a 20min   session,although if you hid in the toilets during the changeover and GEORGE   the attendant did not find you you could sneak another session. l attended   Cranborne Road Junior school at the time and at the age of 10 swam a mile for   which l received a certificate which read ;Plunged in and swam one mile;   another thing l remember about the baths was the hot 1d  OXO in the cafe   that overlooked the little pool,it was very welcome on a cold winters day .



  1. Kingstanding Swimming Baths

    i recall having to walk from kingsthorne school which i attended up untill 1976, walking out of the cranbourne road entrance of Kingsthorne school , along sidcup road turning right then along hurlingham road to kingstanding swimming baths which used to be on warren farm road near Christ the king RC primary school and warren farm secondary school. I not sure but i think the Kingstanding Swimming baths was pulled down and demolished in about 1985 ish ? or was it later than that the beging of the 1990’s ?

  2. I was born in 1936 in Peckham Road,
    left Birmingham to Oxford area in 1970.

    I have very fond memories of the swimmingbaths.. we walked everywhere when we were kids.

    the 10` deep end, and the high diving boards, (I never went on them)
    and then the small pool.

    I can`t recall all the names of the roads at the moment. I am so pleased to read all this information here.

    Anyone as old as me here? lol

  3. i am about 4 years youger than you pauline i lived on the college road next to the legion i used to walk up warren farm road to the swimming baths which was on the big island which had prefabs on it and the brook ran through the middle they have all gone now just the island remains the swimming baths wasnext to the ex service club thats still there with a space beside it which was the swimming baths

    • Hi dave John hall Just read about the swimming baths You mentioned the brook in the middle I walked all the way along that to witton lakes.In the middle of the Island was the coat of arms which my grandfather laid

  4. We lived at Bendall Rd as kids and we virtually lived in the baths,and of course most of the time we walked there.On rainy days we caught the No.33 bus and it cost 1/2 penny in old money .Happy days.I an 75 now and was very pleased to see those days recalled.

    • I remember “the baths” because them days i couldnt swim,i used to jump in the little pool and swear blind i had been swimming.Most of the kids had to wear the blue council cossies because we never owned one of our own, wouldnt be allowed now!!!

  5. I was born in Kings Rd.but moved to Sutton Coldfield in 1943 and I regurlarly attended Kingstanding baths where I taught myself to swim eventually diving off that 16’3″ board ( just the once) I remember it cost one penny weekdays to go in and three pence on Saturdays.

  6. I used to live on the Pheasey from 1957 till 1978. My friends and I used to catch the bus to the baths, getting off at Hawthorn Road. I seem to remember having hot chocolate from the little teashop to warm us up afterwards and spending whatever money we had left on sweets and then walking home.

  7. I lived in Halsbury Grove which is off Warren farm. I went to the old kingstanding Baths nearly every night with friends from school. We use to have a swimming pass that allowed us to use the baths without having to pay to get in.We loved that baths and were heartbroken when it finaly closed.
    I remember the kiosk were you got ya ticket to go in, girls changing rooms were on the right, boys were to the left. you got ready in a cubicle and had to remember the door number, so when you came out the pool the lady with the key could open the door for you. They had some nice staff but also had lady who was a right old dragon !! we got use to her and learned to avoid her at all cost.

  8. Nearly every kid I know went to Kingstanding Baths as the ‘free pass’ allowed us in every day, sometimes twice! We started going in about 1978 and went about 3 times a week, sometimes more. I loved being the first one in on a Saturday morning when the water was completely still and the changing rooms were spotless. The toilets were ALWAYS daggy though!

    I learnt to swim in the small pool and remember passing the exam to transfer into the bigger pool. Wow! Brilliant times and such a fantastic facility for kids and a chip-shop nearby for the essentials after a few hours splashing.

    I went to Warren Farm Primary and did my swim and life-saving badges in both the pools. The working-mens’ club was next door and we always marvelled at the acts advertised as we had never heard of any of them – ha ha. I’m sure a few famous people must have played there!?

    Great staff who were always fair and kind to the kids and we did play up quite a bit. Fond memories.

  9. To think my father helped build the swimming baths, and i hated swimming as a child, the only reason i went swimming was to have my penny oxo and a crusty cob.

  10. I went to Warren Farm J&I til ’75 then Warren Farm Secondary.. I learned to swim at Kingstanding baths in ’74, taught by the legendary Mrs George.

    • Hi Tony, I went to warren farm j&I until 76. My older sisters also went there- Kim and Karen and my nieces Teresa Duggan and Susan Duggan around the same time.
      Mrs George was my hero!!!! The best head mistress Warren Farm has ever had.
      I had a fear of water, so sadly Mrs george gave up trying to teach me to swim. She did however give me swimming certificates each week, adding the words on the certificate ‘With aids’. I think she felt sorry for me. I still can’t swim but its on my bucket list ha ha.
      I remember the dark brown wooden steps into the baby pool and the odd child having to wear special socks if they had a dreaded verruca

  11. I went to cranbourne rd school1945-1952, we used to go for swimming lessons at kingstanding baths, I was the last one to move out of learners into the big pool, I was always timid in the water.My grandparents Mr Mrs Bennet
    lived in Danesbury Crescent right behind the baths.I remember a man pushing a cart along their street selling wilkes from his cart.The headmistress
    was Mrs Fairhead, and my teacher was a Mr Hill.Does anyone remember me ?My name was Maureen Warner

  12. I learned to swim in the little pool and was very happy after trying to
    swim for ages with my ugly Army & Navy military issue water wings! I went quite often to Kingstanding Baths with my friend Margaret. I even eventually jumped off the high diving board in the big pool. My Aunty lived in Finchley Road so we would visit her after swimming. We often walked all the way from Witton Lakes via the right of way into College Road and up Hawthorn Road to save bus fare so that we could buy a drink at the Baths. Happy days.

  13. I lived in Westward Close the flat above Bakers the butchers, ledt there in 1962 to get married but my mother lived there many years afterwards. My maiden name was Kettley.

  14. I lived in Brackenbury Road from 1947 until 1970. I didn’t know that the baths had been knocked down until now. We used to go to the baths and then to the coffee shop which was virtually next door. An oxo in a mug would set us up.

  15. Spent all the school holidays at the Kingstanding baths.Used to take the pop bottles back to get the money to go.One of the great delights on the way home was calling in at one of the houses for a 1p toffee lick.Used to use my dads old navy lifebelt to learn to swim there.

  16. Went as often as poss. Always had a dry bread cob to eat on the walk back to Kings Rd.I would have used the baths from about 1953 to the late sixties.Very happy days.

  17. I used to go to the baths with a free pass in the late 60’s it cost an old penny to get the 90 from the circle and we were given 3d using 1 old penny for a drink and sweets on the way home. My mom used to tell me she used to go to dances there as a teenager.

  18. I was born in Plumstead Rd so I know about all the places that have been mentioned. Went all the way through from infants to seniors at Dulwich Rd school. The baths were nearly the death of me. We were all told to float on our backs with our feet in the rails..Mine came adrift and I spun as I dropped down. The reflections gave me no idea where “up” was and I went unconscious. Luckily the teacher spotted me and jumped in fully clothed to rescue me. For the girls who attended Dulwich Rd school, you may remember me as the “Mad” kid who chased you as you came out of school.
    If any of you see this I would love to hear from you so that I can apologise for my misdeeds. Especially Josephine Hett.

  19. We went with school Cardinal wiseman. I think we had to walk there. I learned to swim in the small pool.The attendant had a long pole with a lop on to go round your waste. So they could teach you to swim.

  20. I used to go to the baths nearly every week in school holidays every day
    afterwards upstairs to the cafe for a mug of hot chocolate and a wagon wheel

    • Hi Steve.
      Are you Elaine’s brother and did your famly live in Brackenberry Road then moved to Plumstead Road?
      I remember the free pass( think you had to swim a couple of lenghts to get one) I spent many happy hours there and at Dulwich Road Girls 1967-1971.

  21. Hello Lynn , yes I do remember the free pass now , I lived at 89 Hornsey Rd
    I went to Peckham then Kings Rise , I can also remember swimming at Powles pool Sutton Park

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