The Swimming Pool

Raising funds for the Swimming Pool at Laindon High Road School and Swimming Lessons at Hutton Residential School

Seeing the articles on the building of the swimming pool reminded me of a comment in my report book from the end of the school year 1958. Planning and fundraising started about 1957 so we were all encouraged to raise money to help build the pool by making articles and collecting bric-a-brac to sell at the Bazaars, sales and events arrangedĀ  and held at the school.

I remember one of these sales in particular where I helped Mrs. MinikenĀ  on a stall that was held in the old gymnasium on the east side of the Quad. I left school at Easter 1960 and although the open air pool was more or less completed I don’t remember being able to use it before I left. I never did have the chance to swim in the new pool. Eventually funds were raised to enclose the swimming pool with a building in the early 1960’s.

Who remembers the weekly swimming lessons at the swimming baths at Hutton Residential School near Shenfield?

Those swimming lessons were a torment to me, I have always suffered with travel sickness so the weekly bus ride was a nightmare. By the time we arrived in the bus I was in no fit state to swim. The teacher who taught us used to wear a skirt not sports wear like they do these days. Now how shall I put this?—-Her under garments were less than adequate being rather loose and baggy. As she used to stand on the edge of the pool making gestures and demonstrating how to do breast stroke the boys would all line up in the pool close to the edge of the pool giggling as her skirt waved around exposing her underwear etc!!!!!! She seem completely unaware of their apparent amusement.

Fortunately after a short while after I had learned to swim my days at Hutton came to an abrupt end. I managed to acquire a verruca on my foot from the swimming baths so my mother would not let me attend the lessons any more. In those days the treatment for verrucas was to have them burnt out by acid being applied to the area and a scalpel used to eradicate the offending patch of skin. Over about six weeks I had to hobble all the way over to the clinic in Florence Road south of the station for the nurse to treat my foot. It was extremely painful but it got me an afternoon off school (if I remember correctly a double period of maths) and the distress and agony of those swimming lessons. Happy days !!!!!!!

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  • We christened the open air pool by diving and bombing in summer of 1960. I’ve got a newspaper photo up in the loft showing:-   Roger Wicking, Alan Caulfield, Payne? and one other.

    By Roger Waveney (09/09/2015)
  • Richard, yes you did miss out on the swimming sessions at Hutton, and yes they were fun, if you were a swimmer, if not they were a nightmare. You need to appreciate that the possibility of drowning is so much greater in a swimming pool than it is on dry land. If you are a non swimmer, fear prevents the likelihood of fun, particularly when your float is snatched from you.

    Hutton pool was quite large and must have been deep up the other end as the diving platforms were pretty high. The pool really took your breath away, not because of its size, but because of the excessively high concentration of chlorine added to the water.

    As I said previously, I still am unable to swim, but I’m no longer afraid of the water, I respect it and its power. I enjoy getting into the sea, the bigger the waves the better and I love to go sailing, again, the bigger the waves the better. I can swim really but only under water, the problem is holding my breath long enough! 

    By Donald Joy (09/09/2015)
  • Like Patsy and Richard, I too recall the payments (not voluntary donations) made towards the construction of the LHR swimming pool. I feel that I was somewhat short changed on this one, as I and many others made our payments regularly over a long period of time and I only got in the darn thing once! Not that I cared too much, as I couldn’t swim, still can’t for that matter (negative buoyancy). I didn’t much like going to the pool at Hutton Residential School either, not only because I couldn’t swim, but because I would always get told off. This was because I was always the last to be dressed ready to get back on the coach to return to school.

    To this day I am no different, I have to be perfectly dry before contemplating getting my clothes on. 10 minutes in the shower = 20+ minutes drying time. The only variation to this is at our place in Spain or at the beach where I can end up “sun-dried”. Was I one of those non swimmers who Richard took the cork float away from? Grrr. 

    By Donald Joy (08/09/2015)
  • I too remember the swimming pool being constructed. It was not heated and had just a simple changing room section. However, to us it was brilliant and marked the end of several years fund raising as Patsy has said.

    There were cork floats to assist you if you could not swim and it was great fun snatching them from the learners. It must have been 1960 when we started using the pool, so cold it was unbelievable but it was ours and we loved it.

    Looking at Patsy’s report page it seems slightly different from my one which spanned 58-63. However, I am slightly jealous that Patsy’s teacher was Miss Burt, so attractive compared with the serious Mr Rees. Also a shame I missed the poolside lessons at Hutton, they sound like they were tremendous fun. Lovely times, never to return.

    By Richard Haines (21/07/2014)

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