Swimming Baths

Mitcham Baths Hall opened on Monday 28th November, 1932. It was built on the site of George Shepherd & Son, coach builders, on London Road. It was called the Baths Hall as it was open for swimming during the summer months and as a hall during the winter.

Baths Hall on London Road, photo taken mid 1980s.

Mitcham Baths edited

Possibly 1970s

1932 Baths Hall

1932 Baths Hall

1932 swimming pool

1932 swimming pool

From the 1932 Medical Officer of Health Report for Mitcham, from the Wellcome Trust

SWIMMING BATH.

The new Swimming Bath was opened by the Chairman of the Council on November 28th, 1932.

The Surveyor has kindly supplied the following data :—

Construction was commenced in June, 1931, and was carried out as an unemployment relief scheme.

The building is used as a public hall in the winter months, with movable stage and dance floor over the swimming pool.

The swimming pool, 100 ft. by 36 ft., has a depth of water varying from 3 ft. to 8 ft. 6 in., with a diving area 20 ft. long.

The floor of the pool is covered with terrazzo and the sides lined with white glazed interlocking bricks.

The dressing rooms are between the entrance hall and bath hall, with showers and foot baths adjacent, ensuring that bathers use the shower and foot baths before entering the pool.

The filtration plant comprising three vertical pressure filters, giving a maximum rate of 200 gallons per square foot per hour and capable of filtering the whole of the 126,000 gallons in four hours. Aeration is carried out both before and after filtration. Chlorination is by the automatic liquid gas type to Ministry of Health recommendations of 0.2 to 0.5 parts per 1,000,000.

Washing accommodation comprises :—

Eight slipper baths and one needle spray bath for men.
Six slipper baths and one needle spray bath for women.
Space has been allowed for future extensions.

The cost, exclusive of the land and furnishing, was £27,350.


1952

1952


The electric lighting was supplied by Ward Electrical Co. Ltd. who submitted the lowest tender of £506 7s.

The terrazo paving was supplied by the Camden Tile and Mosaic Co. who submitted a tender of £1480 8s. 6d.

Source: 1931 Mitcham Urban District Council minutes, pages 414 and 445, volume 17.

The first superintendent of the Baths Hall was Mr. C. P. WALKER, according to the Mitcham News & Mercury on 3rd February, 1933. He is quoted as having been previously at Hull.

News Articles

Norwood News – Friday 27 November 1953

Baths are 21 years old

MITCHAM BATHS “come of age” tomorrow (Saturday).

Since they were opened on November 28, 1932, nearly one and a half million people have used the Baths for swimming alone.

The Baths Hall has had an eventful life since it was opened by Mr. W. Carlton. J.P., chairman of the Urban District Council.

The first swimming season lasted only a week, during which all swimming was free. During the first full season in 1933 there were over 102,000 bathers.

Swimmers came in their hundred thousands until 1939. In the first season of the war only 43,000 came to bathe.

“When the land mine at Fair Green shattered the glass in the hall skylights and the baths were closed, it seemed as if all the work done for swimming in Mitcham had been in vain.

REST CENTRE

In 1941 there was a further blow when part of the hall was destroyed by bombs.

But the Baths took on a new lease of life during the war. They became a rest centre for people who had lost their homes in bombing.

Old people from the Garden Village were among those who moved in, bringing their cats, dogs and canaries, while an unexploded bomb at the village was put out of action.

The swimming pool reopened in May, 1946. Numbers in that first season were only half the pre-war average.

Now things are back to normal. Attendances are once more on the 100,000 mark. More and more schools are using the Baths, and the number of swimming galas held there is well up on pre-war figures.

Children can still swim for 2d. a time, as they could 21 years ago. Only this season were the charges for adults increased sightly.

List of Newspaper Articles

Date Headline Newspaper Page
03/02/1933 (Boxing) Exhibition Contests at the new Baths Mitcham News and Mercury 1
22/07/1933 A tour of inspection by Labour Party Members Mitcham and Morden Guardian 7
29/07/1933 The success of the new Baths Mitcham and Morden Guardian 5
30/09/1933 Baths Committee’s scheme for another Bath Mitcham and Morden Guardian 3
02/12/1933 All-in wrestling banned Mitcham and Morden Guardian 7
03/12/1937 Indoor bowling rink opened Mitcham News and Mercury 1
03/12/1937 Indoor bowls for Mitcham Mitcham News and Mercury 3
18/05/1939 Foam baths for Mitcham Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 14
05/01/1951 New cycle parking blocks Mitcham and Morden Guardian 1
12/04/1951 Foam baths re-opened Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
28/05/1953 Slot machines for hair drying Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 5
02/07/1953 Record for Baths Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
08/04/1954 Preparation for swimming season Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
06/10/1955 Boom year at Mitcham Baths Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 3
06/10/1955 Proposal re longer hours Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
26/04/1956 Two enthusiasts celebrate Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
27/04/1956 First dips of the season Mitcham News and Mercury 8
03/05/1956 Baths Hall bookings hit by T.V.? Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 10
04/05/1956 Few people hire Baths Hall Mitcham News and Mercury 9
21/06/1956 Too wet to go to the Baths? Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 20
07/12/1956 Local bathers toughening up Mitcham and Morden Guardian 7
07/12/1956 Swimmers getting tough Mitcham News and Mercury 9
15/03/1957 A risky plunge at the Baths Mitcham News and Mercury 1
05/07/1957 Record attendance Mitcham News and Mercury 1
02/08/1957 No chance for a high diver Mitcham News and Mercury 1
29/05/1958 Clubs denied swim? Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
10/10/1958 Baths get a £1,000 facelift Mitcham News and Mercury 9
15/10/1959 Baths record Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 2
22/10/1959 Special bus to Baths too expensive Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
09/12/1960 Poor swim season – weather blamed Mitcham News and Mercury 7
23/02/1961 New Baths Chief Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
24/02/1961 Baths Superintendent is retiring in May Mitcham News and Mercury 8
02/03/1961 No house for Baths official Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
30/03/1961 Baths schedule in hot water Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
21/04/1961 Mitcham Baths Superintendent Mitcham and Morden Guardian 1
03/08/1961 Eskimo rolling in Baths Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 8
25/01/1962 £9000 plan to re-equip Baths in three years Mitcham News and Mercury 9
02/11/1962 Council to revise their charges Mitcham News and Mercury 1
24/01/1963 £9000 plan to re-equip Baths in three years Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
27/02/1963 Swimming pool for estate Mitcham News and Mercury 9
02/01/1964 A second pool for Borough? Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
14/01/1964 Estate to plead for pool Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
29/05/1964 Swimming baths? Lets build them Mitcham News and Mercury 11
27/11/1964 Swim pool – no move yet Mitcham News and Mercury 1
24/12/1964 £350000 for new swim pool Mitcham News and Mercury 1
24/12/1964 New pool would cost £350000 Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
31/12/1964 Negative attitude to swimming pool Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
19/02/1965 Scheme for Mitcham winter swimming pool Mitcham and Morden Guardian 5
19/02/1965 Tenants ask for swim pool Mitcham News and Mercury 1
30/07/1965 Conditions at Mitcham criticised Mitcham News and Mercury 1
09/09/1965 Loan needed Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser 1
17/09/1965 New boiler for Mitcham Baths Mitcham and Morden Guardian 6
24/09/1965 Investigation team clears the Baths Manager Mitcham News and Mercury 1
20/12/1968 New boiler for Mitcham Baths Mitcham News and Mercury 11
12/12/1969 Swim to cost 25 per cent more Mitcham News and Mercury 13
18/12/1970 Archery at the Baths Mitcham News and Mercury 1
11/04/1974 Mayor to open new Training Pool Mitcham News and Mercury 1
08/08/1975 Taking the plunge as heatwave soars Mitcham News and Mercury 11
09/07/1976 Quick dips only at the Baths Mitcham News and Mercury 2
20/01/1978 Neighbours slam new pool nuisance fears Mitcham News and Mercury 49
27/01/1978 Longer dips in pools bathers told Mitcham News and Mercury 51
03/02/1978 Chlorine firm blacklists Merton Swimming Baths Mitcham News and Mercury 5
06/06/1980 Baths will close Mitcham News and Mercury 1
13/06/1980 New pool planned Mitcham News and Mercury 1
18/07/1980 Residents say no to new swimming pool Mitcham News and Mercury 3
30/10/1980 Petition to save swimming pool Mitcham News and Mercury 64
13/02/1981 Baths will close Mitcham News and Mercury 5

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 3rd February, 1950:

The outside of Mitcham Baths is to be painted at a cost of £349 8s. 2d. The tender of Messrs. Cannon and Roaf was the lowest. The job will take six weeks.


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

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