The New Bath Hotel – Outdoor Swimming Pool
New Bath Swimming Pool, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire
The pool is open between the hours of 10 and 6 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the end of September. A day ticket will cost £5; there will not be season tickets of club membership this season. I will try to keep up to date with any alterations to the arrangements, but do recommend telephoning the hotel (01629-583454) before setting out, at least until the system has got well re-established. As I write, after HOT days, it’s clouded over; I do hope the inaugural weekend will throw in the poolside sun which so well complements the naturally cool thermal water. Do look at the photograph below! “Paradise enow (enough)” to quote Fitzgerald’s Omar Khayyam.
It now seems unlikely that the pool will open at all this Summer (2009). After a winter of technical problems with the Indoor Pool, the Brooks Hotels management seem to have got cold feet about incurring the further considerable expense of cleaning, maintaining and staffing the outdoor lido, while they are aware of the consioderable loss of amenity and attraction that an empty pool implies, and would be happy for “us”, the little band of long-time enthusiastic ex-club-members to run it for them. Trouble is, apart from the legal a
In at the Shallow End -a panagyric from better daysnd financial implications, we are mostly fully employed earning our livings, bringing up children. etc., and the administrative time needed can’t easily be found. Still, we are at last about to (as of 24.7.09) hold a meeting at the Hotel to survey the pool and consider options. If you want to be kept informed of this and future developments, contact the “Friends of the New Bath” via Dave at the Bookshop 01629-823272, Scarthin Books, Cromford DE4 3QF, firstname.lastname@example.org
You have probably heard that you can once again bathe in natural spring water in the newly opened Royal Spa of Bath, but did you know that here in Derbyshire there has been an open-air swimming pool fed by natural warm springs -and it has been open for over seventy years!
The warm springs of Matlock Bath emerge at 68 degrees Fahrenheit, 20 degrees centigrade winter and summer and have been resorted to for healing and for bathing since at least the 17th. Century. In the basement of Matlock Bath’s New Bath Hotel there is a curious two-hundred-year-old vaulted plunge pool fed by the springs and it was in the early 1930′s, at the height of the outdoor-recreation movement, that the Hotel decided to add a splendid outdoor pool fed directly by the same springs.
The outdoor “Lido” pool was opened in 1933 and photographs of the annual Summer Galas before the war show the pool busy and surrounded by a crowd in blazers and boaters, swimming costumes and tennis outfits. The pool is almost unchanged from those early days, spacious (40 yards long) and surrounded by lawns and shrubs, a tennis court and children’s play area adjacent, and scenically backed by the Derwent’s limestone cliffs on one side and woods of Masson on the other. An idyllic place, an experience as near to the seaside as you can get in the Peak District!
and the majority of our lidos have declined and closed. The New Bath pool has miraculously survived, a delightfully quiet and peaceful place, into an era when outdoor swimming is once-again becoming popular -but …you’ve guessed it… Health and Safety strikes again! Perhaps it is for the best that nowadays a lifeguards is needed whenever the pool is open, but two lifeguards!*! in a pool with never more than a dozen people swimming at one time!*! The expense of providing this cover means that the Hotel must now urgently attract more users, both annual members and day visitors, individuals and clubs, if the pool is to stay open.
On a hot day, for splashing about with the children in the shallow end, for some serious length-bashing, or just for relaxing at a beautiful poolside. The temperature is just right, the water flows straight from the spring, (unique in Britain?) and needs only imperceptible chlorination.
To help promote this wonderful unique amenity and maintain it into the future, a group of regular swimmers have formed the
The Friends of the New Bath
In August we were delighted to welcome Bob Holman and Dave Pratten to swim their mile (44 lengths) in this, the 98th of exactly 100 lido pools that they know of in the UK. Both finished their miles in well under half an hour, but then, one of them has swum the Channel and the other had just won bronze in his category of the European Triathlon Championships! Locals Dave and Pete lumbered to head-up breast-stroke half miles in about the same time! The sun shone through the dappled surface on one of the few lovely afternoons of the Summer .
More details of Bob and Dave’s adventures by clicking on One Hundred British Lidos to Swim in!
Pictures of the pool as it was in the 1930′s can be seen by clicking on Old Postcard Views. The pool itself, pavement and lawn have not changed at all, though the trees have grown up (in both senses) and there is now a kiosk and changing rooms “below” the poolside. So the feel of the lido era of the 30′s can still be experienced here!
Several internet groups and sites have been set up in support of outdoor swimming, among them Lidos and the local pools campaigning site Pooling Resources, both of which can be joined or just consulted – oh, and not-so-finally: The Outdoor Swimming Society and the Rivers and Lake Swimming Association.