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Pool Maintenance Ltd

The Rise of Public Swimming Pools in the UK

Posted: 2020-04-22, in category: Swimming Pool Maintenance

Swimming, Diving, Leisure & Therapy Pool Maintenance, Water Filtration Installation, Balance Tank Cleaning

The Industrial Revolution saw the emergence of slum accommodation, to house the many labourers brought to cities like London. Living conditions here were unsociable and unhygienic giving rise to widespread health problems. Around the same time there were many drowning deaths in canals and rivers, as people were attracted to the water but most could not swim. This caused people to want to learn to swim, especially the poorer section of society as this was the only time they could bathe properly.

This situation quickly became a problem as Tooting Bec swimming pool for instance had roughly 1,500 bathing there per day! Complaints were made to the Borough Council, about overcrowding and lots of residents from the slum areas walking there in their bare feet. So called ‘boys baths’ were included near to the main pool, allowing boys to bathe at low cost. These were a safer alternative to canal or river bathing, although there was a lot of misbehaving and indecency.

Sessions invariable ended in chaos and the hi jinks had to be controlled, plus working class men and boys did not own bathing costumes. They simply carried their clothes around with them or placed them in a pile by the water. Men would generally bathe first thing in the morning and get off to work before the ladies arrived for their dip.

Wild outdoor swimming became less attractive, as people were lured indoors by safer, warmer surroundings. Eventually chlorination and filtration was introduced, as opposed to continually emptying and refilling pools. Swimming outdoors faded away as more of an emphasis was placed on the need for water cleanliness. Some still persist in wild swimming, even in potentially hazardous places like the Thames, often prompting calls to rescue services.

​Call the team at Pool Maintenance to find out about their products and services on 01457 765533 or 07748 908201


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