Opened in Jane Austen’s lifetime and recently saved from demolition, Cleveland Pools will welcome swimmers for a short autumn season before making a big splash next spring

‘Enjoy your swim,” says Cleveland Pools chair Paul Simon, and a wave of spray rises from the water as a small tide of people leap into this historic open-air pool in the centre of Bath. Almost 40 years since it closed, the site is reopening after a £9.3m renovation – and these swimmers , selected in a prize draw, are the first in the water. When they come up for air, they break into applause.

Among them are Jenni and Alan Hinds, who came by bus from nearby Bradford on Avon. Both remember swimming here as children. “Getting dressed in the changing rooms brought it all back,” says Jenni. “I remember visiting with my brothers. It’s wonderful. I want to come all the time!”

Built in 1815, the Grade II-listed Cleveland Pools is the UK’s oldest public outdoor swimming pool. The country’s many revamped lidos were mainly built in the 1920s and 30s, so are whippersnappers compared with this one. Hidden from general view, the pools (there are two – a main 25m pool and a children’s splash pool) are set within a walled garden and reached via an unassuming footpath between two houses on a quiet residential street. The feeling of otherworldliness is enhanced by a caretaker’s cottage and changing cubicles shaped like Bath’s Royal Crescent in miniature, and the pools’ lagoon-like position along the River Avon.

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Source: Gaurdian

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