8th Apr, 2020

PHOTO SPECIAL: As Coventry Baths closes see how they looked when first opened in 1966

Editorial Correspondent 11th Feb, 2020 Updated: 12th Feb, 2020

AHEAD of the last ever swim session this Saturday (February 15), here are archive photographs of Coventry Baths in their 1960s hey-day.

These images show the £1.3million swimming baths under construction and after they were opened on April 23, 1966.

International swimmers Graham Sykes, Graham Symonds and Bobby Lord took the very first dip in the pool, there was a display by the Miss O Jones Synchro Swimming Team and a gala of 20 swimming and diving events. The Lord Mayor even boasted they were the finest baths in Europe.

Back then the baths sat among terraced streets which were later demolished to make way for the city’s ring road.

The zinc-panelled Elephant extension – a homage to the city’s emblem housing a leisure centre – came later In 1977.

As part of the build-up to City of Culture, Culture Coventry is working with the 2021 Great Place Project and Coventry University to bring the city’s past to life and out of the archives.

A new website featuring an archive of online photographs is due to be launched later in the year. The team at Coventry Archives invited image company Photo Miners to look at its collections to find out which images resonated most.

You can read more about the bath’s history and architecture on the Twentieth Century Society’s website: https://c20society.org.uk/building-of-the-month/coventry-central-baths-elephant and you’ll be able to see more at Coventry Archives, inside The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.

A video of the swimming baths can be downloaded here: https://vimeo.com/390787257

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