The plan for a new indoor swimming pool at Parkside in 1935.

Another discovery by Mike Petty MBE from his series of digitised articles and images from the Cambridge Daily News in 1935 – have a look here.

AboveNot just a pool but a “Swimming Stadium” – Cambridge Daily News 15 April 1935.

The text below it (out of shot) reads:

“The above design prepared by Mr George P. Banyard shows the front elevation of the new Swimming Stadium to be erected on Parkside [i.e. where the police & fire station now are]. Mr W.A. Bignell [a stockbroker], the prime mover in the project is acting as secretary pro tem of the new company, Cambridge Swimming Baths Ltd.”

The newspaper also published a plan of the proposed swimming pool – which is about the same length of the first Parkside Pool built in the early 1960s – where I learnt to swim in the late 1980s as a child and where many of us primary school children also had swimming lessons.

100ft long – so 33 metres – which is why swimming 1 length of the pool would get you your 25m swimming badge but three lengths would get you your 100m swimming badge. (And 30 lengths your 1000m – I got all three by the age of ten!)

The original plan has a number of similarities to the first version of Parkside Pool built around the corner where the present pool is. But stylistically, on the exterior, they could not be more different.

Above – From Chris Elliott’s book Cambridge – the story of a city – essentially a rectangle with brick walls on two sides and wide glass panels on the other two sides, with a large spectator section mainly for parents watching their offspring having swimming lessons. 8.30am on a Saturday morning was hard going as a child of the 1980s.

Could we re-use the design for a future swimming pool?

I’m not the decision-maker but I’d like to think George Banyard’s design could be the starting point for a municipal pool that I’d like to see on the site of the Milton Road Garage assuming the North East Cambridge development goes through. Essentially take the façade of the 1935 design and use that as your starting point while making everything around it as eco-friendly as possible – whether re-using the excess heat from the science park building air conditioning units to putting solar panels on the roof, plus some medium-sides wind turbines alongside the guided busway next to it.

I’d like to think it could be done.

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