Making a splash

Who remembers Hollywood’s mermaid? Esther Williams – the 1950’s Hollywood aqua musical star who popularised the sport of synchronised swimming with her elaborately staged water-based performances.

Take away the water and you’d think the performers would flounder – but not so. Head for Bath’s Holburne Museum for 11 am on August 24th and you should see a performance by Almost Synchro – an on land synchronised swimming team who will be doing a short display to mark the opening of “Making a Splash – 200 years of the Cleveland Pools, Swimming History and Costume Design.”

It has all been organised by the Cleveland Pools Trust who are busy restoring Bath’s historic lido ahead of its grand re-opening next year. 

Illustration of Site View. CREDIT Ben Holmes

The exhibition will display a collection of swimsuits ranging from the itchy knitted one-pieces of yesteryear to the latest in Olympic swim technology. Exploring themes of health, fashion, and gender it will provide a visual account of the history of swimming – and the ever-changing attitudes towards it – within the wider context of Bath’s rich social history. 

At the Entrance Gate, July 1977. – CREDIT Bath & North East Somerset Council

Adela Straughan, Cleveland Pools trustee said “We are so looking forward to holding this exhibition at such an iconic venue in Bath. The volunteers have worked incredibly hard to make this happen. We all love telling the story of the Pools!” 

At the exhibition there will be information on the architecture of the Pools and the 17-year long campaign to save them. Also, an opportunity to find out how you can support the project to help raise essential funds. Whether it’s a sporting endeavour or a sunny garden party – they need your help. You can find out more here: Cleveland Pools Trust | Localgiving

Photo of Ron Gray, 1960. CREDIT- Museum of Bath at Work

The exhibition will run from 24th August to 5th September in the café corridor area of the museum and there will be children’s competitions with a prize provided by John Moore Sports, plus exciting surprises to celebrate its unveiling.

Look out for Almost Synchro, an on-land synchronised swimming team who will be doing a short display outside the museum at 11am on the opening day!

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