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Victorian pool heritage revitalised for new Westbury era
The celebrations are all going swimmingly for town councillors, from left, David Jenkins, Stephen Andrews, David Tout, David Bradshaw, Gordon King, Ian Cunningham and Keith Harvey
Victorian costumes and swimming demonstrations were seen by visitors to Westbury Swimming Pool at the weekend, as the historic centre celebrated its 125th anniversary.
Town councillors put on period swimwear for the two-day celebration of one of the oldest working public pools in Britain.
Swimming club members demonstrated 19th century strokes.
As part of the celebrations – organised by DC Leisure, Wiltshire Council and Westbury Town Council – swimmers paid a penny to use the pool.
Callum Thomas, who came from Warminster with daughters Imogen, three, and Leonie, nine, said: “We thought we would make the special trip to take up the offer.
“It’s a great pool and we will come back.”
A public exhibition on the history of the baths, which opened on May 24, 1888, was held in The Laverton, which celebrated its own 140th anniversary on the same day.
Westbury councillor David Bradshaw said: “It was a privilege to dress in Victorian swimwear and I think I could get used to it. It’s a bit of fun and it shows how things have changed.”
Exhibition visitors got a leaflet with a history of the pool and 125 commemorative mugs and pin badges were available.
Barry Heywood, a West-bury Amateur Swimming Club coach, who gave a talk about how strokes had changed, said: “Our members had been practicing the different strokes.”
Among them was the trudgen, which evolved out of sidestroke and into the front crawl.
Pool manager Georgina Brain said: “Lots of people have been taking up the offer of a penny swim.”
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