OldCiren - Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
With Summer, my thoughts often return to a time in my life when it felt like Summers were always hot and went on forever. A time when I looked forward eagerly to the end of term and the promise of long days at the Ciren open air Swimming pool.
In the 1960’s there was only one place to swim in Ciren safely and we called it “ The Pool”. I say “safely because a poplar teenage activity at the time was a Lambretta Scooter ride away to swim at the Gravel pits at South Cerney. (In my case a Triumph Tiger Cub ) It was the time before Gentrification turned it all into a “Water park”: then it was a gravel pit pure and simple: and dangerous. More about that another time..
Looking back through the pages of old Standards in the Bingham Library or online in the British Newspaper Library it’s possible to gain some insight into just how popular the Ciren Pool used to be from its opening in 1870. Each summer, the Standard regularly reported Galas, Swimming competitions, Diving displays and Water Polo matches. I don’t remember any of these happening during my childhood – but I do remember the excitement and anticipation of walking to the pool on early Summer mornings; along the path above the Gumstool brook watching out for Adders; crossing the brook to arrive at the entry hut to present my Seven and Sixpence Season ticket to Mr Kemp the Superintendent. (About 35 pence then – equivalent today of £4.56 for an entire season!). Clothes were quickly changed for trunks and deposited in a metal cage, handed through a hatch to someone with sixpence deposit. Unused to anything different, the pool seemed enormous. It didn’t matter to me that is was only 6 foot deep and had a high diving board best suited for stunt-men; it was my Pool and for the summer; I owned it…