I learnt to swim here...!

I was in Jesmond this morning and was a little sad to see the demolition of the school swimming pool where I learnt to swim almost 60 years ago.

The pool was considerably older than me, having been gifted to the school in 1930 by Sir Arthur Munro Sutherland  and officially opened on June 20th 1930. During the opening ceremony (by the then lady Mayoress Miss Stephenson), Sir Arthur was reportedly challenged to a race across two breadths of the pool but seemingly he turned down the challenge! The pool, measuring 70 by 30 feet, had a very modern (at the time) water treatment system for aerating and sterilising the water: the whole 70,000 gallons of water in it was changed every 4 hours. It was also said to be heated although I recall some days as a child when I somewhat doubted the efficacy of that!

I was intrigued by the water spray being used during the demolition - I assume it's purpose is to suppress the dust raised by the demolition. It was being fed via a hose from a fire hydrant on the other side of the street.

Sir Arthur (1867-1953) was a shipping owner and philanthropist and had attended the Royal Grammar School himself as a boy. He served as Sheriff of Newcastle in 1916–1917 and Lord Mayor of Newcastle in 1918–1919. Amongst his other gifts to the community was Dunstanburgh Castle (he was the last private owner thereof, and donated the castle to the nation in 1929). He also made large contributions to the setting up of the medical and dental schools in the city. He bequeathed his town house, Thurso House in Newcastle upon Tyne, to the city for use as the new Mansion House after using it as a home to entertain lavish parties; the City remains a Trustee of the Trust which now owns it, and we actually hired it two years ago for a post-wedding party for our Son #1!

The swimming pool became surplus to requirements when a new pool was opened at the school in 2015.

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