Pop into the pool

A visit to the Cleveland Pools site has brought back special memories for Tears For Fear’s band member Curt Smith and his two brothers Shaun and Brett.

The boys were amazed to see the work underway to restore the heritage open-air lido ready for its late summer re-opening.

The brothers were keen to reminisce about their younger days swimming there in the 1960’s and early 70’s, when they spoke to Sally Helvey.

 They lived in Snow Hill, London Road with their parents Tony and Norma Smith – who have now sadly passed – but Tony loved doing home videos and the Cleveland Pools Trust was privileged to have been given rare film taken in 1968 at the Cleveland Pools. 

It is a Super 8 Cine Film in Colour with no sound.   Curt, then aged 7, is wearing the red arm bands and his brothers are helping him pull a young friend into the children’s pool.  Their mother Norma is in the film sitting on the grassy bank with sunglasses on.  

Super 8 cine film clip from 1968 showing the brothers at the Pools with many other children. Curt is in the red arm-bands. “Copyright Smith family, courtesy of Cleveland Pools Trust”.

Curt’s band mate in Tears for Fears, Roland Orzabal, grew up in Portsmouth and didn’t move to Bath until he was about 13 so Curt doesn’t think he swam there and the brothers had stopped going by then.   Curt and Roland began their mutual interest in music aged 14.

The visit was arranged by chance…..Curt was in the area on his Tipping Point tour and we discovered he was coming to Bath next day to see his brothers for lunch. 

Tears for Fears had been all set to headline on the last night of the Bath Festival in 2017 but they had to pull out due to the death of Roland’s wife.  So it’s quite poignant that Curt and Roland won an Ivor Novello Award in 2021 and they are particularly proud of it…they won the ‘Outstanding Song Collection Award’ for the Tipping Point album. 

Shaun now lives in Twerton and presents on Bath Radio Bath.  Brett lives in Lansdown and works in IT, and Curt has been living in LA for some time.  

Sally Helvey

The visit was organised for Curt and his brothers by volunteer Sally Helvey who heads up Talks & Tours for the Cleveland Pools Trust.  She says:  “It’s such fun meeting former swimmers and hearing their stories and this visit was particularly exciting because we got special permission to show Curt and his brothers round the Cleveland Pools before we officially open to the public. 

The brothers swam there in the 1960s but Curt has lived in California for many years so I knew I had to ask him to visit whilst he was in the area for his “Tipping Point World Tour” with Tears for Fears band-mate Roland Orzabal.  This was an opportunity not to be missed and I do hope they will come back for a swim when we’re open…..and maybe Curt and Roland will sing for us at the Pools one day!  Who knows?”.

  Brett bought himself and his brothers our new book by Linda Watts called “Swimming Through History”. The book is not officially launched yet but  copies are available through the Trust –  info@clevelandpools.org.uk  – for the time being.