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Pools, Baths and Lidos: Swimming Pools

Explore this gallery of images of swimming pools from the RIBA Collections.

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Empire Pool nearing completion, Wembley, London

RIBA2969-30
Williams, Sir Evan Owen (1890-1969)
NOTES: Built for the 1934 Empire Games, this was the largest covered bath in the world on completion. The pool was capable of being decked over to take an ice skating rink and also a tournament arena. The pool itself was last used for the 1948 Summer Olympics, after which the building has been used for entertainment and known simply as Wembley Arena.

Empire Pool, Wembley, London: the pool hall seen from a spectators' gallery

RIBA7306
Williams, Sir Evan Owen (1890-1969)
NOTES: Built for the 1934 Empire Games, this was the largest covered bath in the world on completion. The pool was capable of being decked over to take an ice skating rink and also a tournament arena. The pool itself was last used for the 1948 Summer Olympics, after which the building has been used for entertainment and known simply as Wembley Arena.

Bains de la Sauveniere public baths, Liege

RIBA11488
Dedoyard, Georges (1897-1988)

Lansdowne Club, Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London: the swimming pool

RIBA24557
White Allom
NOTES: Charles Fox, a pupil of Louis de Soissons, was commissioned in 1930 to re-design Lansdowne House, designed by Robert Adam in 1762-68, for use as a private club. He remodelled the mansion to incorporate social rooms and a sports area, including a swimming pool, squash courts, fencing Salle, caf+â-® and bar in the basement. Sir Charles Allom, whose firm Allom, White was responsible for the fitting out of the great Cunard liners Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, was commissioned to decorate the Club in the 'Arte Moderne' style. It opened as a club on 1st May 1935.

Royal Masonic Institution for Girls, Senior School, Rickmansworth: the swimming pool

RIBA24925
Denman, John Leopold (1882-1975)
NOTES: This purpose-built school was erected on the site of Rickmansworth Park house, which was demolished in 1926. The design for the new boarding and day school was put out to tender in an architectural competition. It was won by J L Denman, a Freemason himself, whose design incorporated Masonic symbolism, most noticeably in the semi-circle of eight houses, each of which having an H formation.

Bletchley Leisure Centre under construction, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire

RIBA30935
Faulkner-Brown Hendy Watkinson Stonor
NOTES: Milton Keynes, which incorporated the existing towns of Bletchley, Wolverton and Stony Stratford along with another fifteen villages and farmland in between, was designated a new town in 1967 and planning control was thus taken from elected local authorities and delegated to the Milton Keynes Development Corporation (MKDC).

Swiss Cottage Swimming Baths, Hampstead, London: the coin-operated ticket and towel machines

RIBA34484
Sir Basil Spence Bonnington & Collins
NOTES: The Swiss Cottage Swimming Baths and Central Library were the only completed buildings of a scheme for a civic centre in Hampstead. These baths and Coventry Central Baths, designed by Coventry City Architects Department in 1966, were the only complexes of the period to be built with three pools.

Central Baths, Fairfax Road, Coventry

RIBA34486
Coventry City Architects Department
NOTES: Designed in 1956 and built in 1962-1966, these swimming baths with attached sunbathing terraces were amongst the most ambitious of those built during a short period in the 1960s when such complexes were encouraged. These baths and Swiss Cottage swimming baths, Hampstead, designed by Sir Basil Spence Bonnington & Collins and completed in 1964, were the only complexes of the period to be built with three pools.

Leeds International Pool, Westgate, Leeds

RIBA39919
Poulson, John G. L. (1910-1993)

Public swimming baths, Putney, London

RIBA45429
Powell & Moya
NOTES: These baths were given an RIBA Architecture Award in 1969.

Wales Empire Pool, Cardiff

RIBA57104
Dryburgh, John (1918-1991)
NOTES: Constructed as the venue for the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, this complex was demolished in 1998 during the construction of the Millennium Stadium. It was replaced by the Cardiff International Pool which opened in 2008.

Wales Empire Pool, Cardiff: the pool hall showing the spectators' galleries

RIBA57106
Dryburgh, John (1918-1991)
NOTES: Constructed as the venue for the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, this complex was demolished in 1998 during the construction of the Millennium Stadium. It was replaced by the Cardiff International Pool which opened in 2008.

Bletchley Leisure Centre, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire: the swimming pool enclosed by the pyramid

RIBA57127
Faulkner-Brown Hendy Watkinson Stonor
NOTES: Milton Keynes, which incorporated the existing towns of Bletchley, Wolverton and Stony Stratford along with another fifteen villages and farmland in between, was designated a new town in 1967 and planning control was thus taken from elected local authorities and delegated to the Milton Keynes Development Corporation (MKDC).

Central Baths, Fairfax Road, Coventry: the main pool hall seen from the spectators' gallery

RIBA57143
Coventry City Architects Department
NOTES: Designed in 1956 and built in 1962-1966, these swimming baths with attached sunbathing terraces were amongst the most ambitious of those built during a short period in the 1960s when such complexes were encouraged. These baths and Swiss Cottage swimming baths, Hampstead, designed by Sir Basil Spence Bonnington & Collins and completed in 1964, were the only complexes of the period to be built with three pools.

Woking Centre Pool, Woking, Surrey

RIBA57219
Gollins Melvin Ward & Partners

Swimming baths, Bolton Grammar School, Bolton, Lancashire

RIBA58746
Lomax-Simpson, James (1882-1977)

Swimming baths, Bolton Grammar School, Bolton, Lancashire

RIBA58748
Lomax-Simpson, James (1882-1977)

Leeds International Pool, Westgate, Leeds

RIBA62992
Poulson, John G. L. (1910-1993)
NOTES: This is one of the images taken for 'Manplan 7: Local Government' in Architectural Review, vol. 148, 1970 July.

Leeds International Pool, Westgate, Leeds: the main pool

RIBA62996
Poulson, John G. L. (1910-1993)
NOTES: This is one of the images taken for 'Manplan 7: Local Government' in Architectural Review, vol. 148, 1970 July.

Dolphin Square, Grosvenor Road, Pimlico, London: the swimming pool

RIBA73569
Jeeves, Stanley Gordon (1887 or 8-1964)
NOTES: Located by the River Thames, this development comprised 1200 private flats built round a central square containing a sports centre with a swimming pool and squash court, a restaurant and shopping arcade.

Dollan Baths, East Kilbride: the parabolic roof under construction

RIBA76395
Buchanan Campbell, Alexander (1914-)

Dollan Baths, East Kilbride: the olympic length swimming pool

RIBA76403
Buchanan Campbell, Alexander (1914-)

Leeds International Pool, Westgate, Leeds

RIBA80558
Poulson, John G. L. (1910-1993)
NOTES: The pool was demolished in 2009.

Sun Centre, Rhyl, Denbighshire

RIBA106798
Gillinson Barnett & Partners

Sun Centre, Rhyl, Denbighshire: the swimming pool

RIBA106800
Gillinson Barnett & Partners

Dammerstock housing estate, Karlsruhe: detail of light fixture under eaves

RIBA112009
Gropius, Walter (1883-1969)
NOTES: This is a housing development to the south of the city, designed by Walter Gropius with assistance from Otto Haesler. It was the result of a competition in which Gropius was awarded first prize and Haesler second. Gropius co-ordinated the entire project with its different units, providing a total of 228 dwellings (out of the 750 planned). Gropius designed a five-storey block, a four-storey block and a row of terraced houses. The remaining blocks and service buildings are the work of Haesler, Riphahn, Grod, Roeckle, Lochstampfer, Rossler, Merz and Fischer.

Royal Commonwealth Pool, Edinburgh: the main pool hall showing the diving pool

RIBA10391
Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall & Partners
NOTES: Built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games, this complex with long course pool and diving pool closed for refurbishment in 2009.

Public swimming baths, Granville Road, Willesden, London

RIBA25181
Johnson-Marshall, Sir Stirrat (1912-1981)

Royal Commonwealth Pool, Edinburgh, seen during the Commonwealth Games of July 1970

RIBA57152
Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall & Partners
NOTES: This was built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games.

Shirehampton Public Baths, Bristol: the main pool

RIBA73616
Dening, Charles Frederick William (1876-1952)
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