Memories of Meanwood Road Public Baths

It's the public baths where generations of young swimmers first took the plunge.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 8:15 am

Meanwood Road Public Baths was located on Meanwood Road between the junction of Education Road and Jackson Road.

Many local children first learned to swim here attending lessons from nearby schools in the community.

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Your YEP has been asking people who learned how to swim at the Baths down the decades to share their memories and the response has been overwhelming.

Les Marshall recalled how he and his two brothers learned to swim at the Baths.

"When the Baths changing cubicles were full, we kids had to get changed on the balcony above the men’s side changing cubicles," he said. "The warm water showers were a luxury for us kids, one of us would sit on the drain plug, so the warm water would fill up.

"On a weekend there were swimming sessions, they allowed so many people in, at the end of a session, the attendant would blow a whistle, and shout, “Everybody out”.

PIC: Leeds Libraries,

He added: "There were bath tubs in the building, once a week l was given a few pennies to go in a hot water bath, a basic room with a bathtub in, l used to really fill the bath up with lovely hot water, we didn’t have running hot water at home. After 15 minutes or so, the attendant would knock on the ‘bathroom’ door to tell you that your time was up. I still remember the lovely clean feeling and freshness, after having a hot bath. Much better than the old tin bath, in front of the open coal fire, that we had at home!"

Theresa Tonsey said she was taught how to swim at Meanwood Baths.

"We joined a swimming club through Sheepscar Working Mens Club. We were also taken there from Blenheim middle school in the 70s where I did my 10 metres, 25 metres and survival badge.

"We used to go with our older sisters and friends on a Saturday and had lots of fun even though it was cold and run down then. After swimming we used to cross the road to the chip shop and get scallops. Lots of happy memories."

Kathy Brownridge recalled how she was bused to lessons from Green Road School in Meanwood.

"I remember omato flavour crisps after the class and was there Bovril drinks too," she said. "Seem to think there were metal rails around the pool and I now have a lump in my nose where I hit it after swimming underwater. Remember pool side changing rooms. My dad wouldn’t let me go any deeper in the pool than a given changing room number. 8 springs to mind but could be mistaken."

Anne Huckerby said learned to swim at the Baths while a pupil at Buslingthorpe C of E School.

"We didn't go through the front doors, too near the main road," recalled Anne. "We queued down the side and went in through a door near the wash house. I remember watching the women working away."

DID YOU LEARN TO SWIM AT MEANWOOD ROAD PUBLIC BATHS? Email Andrew Hutchinson at: [email protected] or tweet him - @AndyHutchYPN**************************

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