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Swimming then and swimming now

ImageOne cold, crisp, clear day in December 2007 a dream came true for people in Hackney:  the Clissold Leisure Centre had been mended and was open again.  But way back in 1930  there was an even more gigantic celebration when

Stoke Newington got its very first swimming pool.   You can read some of that story in Issue 17, but if you would like to know a bit more, please read some of what the Hackney Gazette wrote about it the next day:

"Built at the cost of about £50,000, Stoke Newington’s first swimming bath was opened yesterday afternoon by Prince George, fourth son of His Majesty the King.   The streets were gaily bedecked with flags, and the thousands of schoolchildren who were prominent along the line of the route carried flags and red, white and blue wavers.

The front of the new building, in Clissold-road, was adorned wiith paper festoons, and under a Union Jack was a shield bearing the borough arms and a group of smaller flags.

His Royal Highness, who travelled with his equerry (Major Ulick Alexander) in a green saloon car, approached from the direction of Mildmay Park, and at the borough boundary in Crossway, Kinglsand High-street, transferred into an open car which he drove slowly along the main road accompanied by the Mayor, Councillor Sir H.G. Ormond, J.P., who was attended by the macebearer.   The Town Clerk (Mr Emrys Evans M.A. LLB) and the Equerry followed in the Prince’s car.

The Prince, who wore a double-breasted blue suit, with a black tie and bowler hat, and carried a rolled umbrella, received a cheering welcome.   At the Public Library in Church-street, he alighted to lay a wreath of laurel and Flanders poppies on the Borough war memorial.   Here, the rector and Rural Dean (the Rev. H.A.E. Standfast, M.A.) and the Borough Librarian (Mr. George Preece O.B.E) were presented.   Before leaving, His Royal Highness signed the Visitors’ Book.

From the Library, he walked along Church-street, and among the fine old houses on the right were pointed out the former residences of John Howard, the prison reformer, Edgar Allen Poe and the Disraeli family.

Entering the old church, the Rector drew attention to the Manor pew, where Queen Elizabeth is reputed to have worshipped, and the Dudley tomb in which the Prince was particularly interested.  He also went into the new parish church, the architectural features of which were much admired.

Inspecting the Guard of Honour
In front of the bath were drawn up a guard of honour, composed of ex-Service members of the local branch of the British Legion, with their banner, commanded by their president Councillor J.M. Ladell), members of the women’s section, the Stoke Newington Naval Brigade, representative groups of Scouts and Guides, and the “N” Division Police Band, which played the National Anthem.....".

If you would like to read more about swimming in Hackney, please have a look at Issue 17.
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