More than 400 people descended upon Bath’s historic Cleveland Pools on the Fourth of July to help celebrate 200 years of swimming in this remarkable historic spot by the River Avon at Bathwick.
Fine weather encouraged them to wander around the site and engage in the activities on offer. Many settled on the bank by the main pool to get a good view of the entertainment which continued throughout the day.
The Natural Theatre Company, along with children from their Young People’s Company interacted with the crowd in an array of different costumes and guises, surprising adults and children as they went.
Meanwhile, St Benedict’s Primary School from Midsomer Norton, did two performances of a play especially devised for the occasion by Petra Schofield of Magic Penny Productions. They also sang original songs by music teacher Myra Barretto.
Special visitors to the site included the Mayor of Bath, Cllr Will Sandry, and the city’s newly-elected MP Ben Howlett.
There were lots of displays featuring the history of this late Georgian lido and plenty of merchandise to buy to help with fund-raising. The Cleveland Pools Trust – with the help of ear-marked Heritage Lottery Funding – aim to bring the pools back to their former glory.
Ann Dunlop, Cleveland Pools Chair, said: “ It was wonderful to see so many people come and support us for this special day.
We were disappointed not to be able to offer boat rides to the Pools from Pulteney Weir to add more fun to the experience of the day, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and still got here! If they come back for our Heritage Open Days in September, maybe we can offer them boat rides then – we’ll see.
In the meantime, if anyone missed out on buying a poster, or they want to find out more about our project, please come and see us on our stall at the Bath City Conference in the Guildhall on Friday 10th July at the Guildhall between 12pm and 6pm “.
The Cleveland Pools is the UK’s oldest surviving Georgian open-air swimming pool, built 1815-17, and tucked away next to the river in Bathwick. It is Grade 2*-listed, and one of Bath’s important heritage landmarks.
It closed for swimming in 1984 and briefly became a trout farm before a campaign began to bring the pools back to their former glory.
The Cleveland Pools Trust won their bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund in July 2014, resulting in a grant worth £4.1million being ear-marked for the Trust if they meet all the criteria set for the various stages of development and delivery.
In January 2015, project director Christopher Heath was appointed to start managing and co-ordinating all remits with trustees, engaging with specialist professionals, and consulting with stakeholders so that the Pools will win back its place on the Bath map.
The aim is to have the Cleveland Pools fully restored for swimming again by 2017/18. The Cleveland Pools Trust will ensure that the site will also be used for its historic interest, and hired out as a venue so that it can be kept open all year round.
The main sponsors for the Cleveland Pools bicentenary events are Savills
Bath and the trust are hoping that more companies and individuals will come forward.
The Trust has got a long way to go with their own fundraising before the dream of opening the Pools for swimming again is realised.
There is still approximately £390,000 still to raise by July 2016; this is match-funding element of the project, and the trustees hope to achieve this with a Crowdfunding campaign in the forthcoming weeks and months.
Anyone wishing to donate is asked to click on the donate button on the Cleveland Pools website.
All photographs in this report – provided by marketing trustee Sally Helvey – are courtesy of BeataCosgrovePhotography.com and you can find many more of them on the Cleveland Pools website.