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Gloucester Park: Swimming Pool


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Gloucester Park Swimming Pool - Basildon Gloucester Park Swimming Pool - Basildon Gloucester Park Swimming Pool - Basildon
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Location: Gloucester Park
Photographer: Unknown
Year of photo: 1996
Copyright: Scan © Basildon History Collection
Comments: The pool, boating lake and parkland to the rear of the building.
Location: Gloucester Park
Photographer: Unknown
Year of photo: February 1994
Copyright: Scan © Basildon History Collection
Comments: A Saturday afternoon 'fun session' in February with 'Treasure Island' inflatable. Note the BT Swimathon '94 banner.
Location: Gloucester Park
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 02/06/2003
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: The disused children's boating lake.
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Gloucester Park Swimming Pool - Basildon    
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Location: Gloucester Park
Photographer: Bix
Year of photo: 02/06/2003
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: The main boating lake, last used in the 1990s and by now very popular with canadian geese, swans, ducks and moorhens.
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Gloucester Park swimming pool opened on April 10th, 1968 at a cost of £500,000. The main pool was built to championship size (33⅓ x 12½m) with a depth of 12½ft. It was designed by Basildon Council in-house architect Kenneth Cotton* and the main contractor was Norman Sinclair Ltd. There was much debate in the years prior to opening as to the dimensions of the pool - International or Championship size, with cost being the central issue.

An original feature was the 2 storey diving tower and the poolside spring board. The centre board or 'second board' as it became known was fitted with a spring board though 'top board' remained a platform until closure for safety reasons during the 1980s. It was the diving area that accounted for the buildings sloping roof. Other features of the building include a teaching pool, first floor cafe and a spectator gallery.

Admission prices from winter 1968 were: Monday - Friday, Adults: 2/6 (12½p), Juniors: 1/- (5p) and
Weekends and Bank Holidays: Adults: 3/- (15p), Juniors: 1/6 (7½p). Spectator: 6d (2½p).

Following an extensive refurbishment from December 1989 to October 1990 the diving tower was removed and the cafe resited on the ground floor and given the name 'splash'. During 1995 the poolside spring board was resited when a flume was installed. Years later this board was removed leaving the pool without any diving facility. A fitness gym (The Pulse Fitness Centre) later opened on the 1st floor where the cafe once traded.

Many additional activities take place within the building and these have included a creche, sauna, solarium and sun booths/beds. Gloucester Park was also home to two swimming clubs; Basildon and Phoenix, who regularly participated in competitions and galas.

In 2005 the swimming pools long term future was thrown into doubt when plans to build a 'centre of sporting excellence' to include a 50m International size pool at the northern end of Gloucester Park were announced. This would later become known as the "Sporting Village" when, following approval, construction got underway in 2009 and Gloucester Park swimming pool closed on Sunday 24th April, 2011.

The Sporting Village opened on Saturday 30th April, 2011.

Other points of interest:
(1) Kenneth S. Cotton, A.R.I.B.A., Dip., Arch.

(2) The official opening was held on June 19th with the chairman of Basildon Council, Arthur Baron Burn performing the opening ceremony.

Page added: 2002
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Text researched and written by William Cox, 2002 with revisions 2002-2006, 2011.
Copyright © 2002-2006,2011, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

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