New research by JPI Media, owners of The Yorkshire Post, shows that swimming pool closures across the region and a lack of funding in new facilities mean that the contrast between Yorkshire’s facilities and the South East’s is equal to 39 Olympic swimming pools.
With 118 public pools in Yorkshire, here are a few of those leisure facilities that closed down over the years.
Roundhay Park, Leeds
This venue used to be an open-air pool and was built south of Waterloo Lake in 1907. It was very popular in the beginning but fell into ruins until 1937 and was restored and renovated.
During the 1950s and 1960s, it attracted an estimated 100,000 visitors a year during the summer. It’s structure didn’t last too long and as a result was shut down by the late 1980s.
The historic Scarborough South Bay Pool was built during the First World War, it consisted of almost 2m gallons of filtered and chlorinated sea water. It was closed down in 1989 and was used to build the biggest illuminated star map, which glows at night.
This outdoor pool was built in 1924 but due to a lack of funding, it was shut down in 1993 and left abandoned. In the beginning of 2017, a group called Friends of Otley Lido started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to restore the pool and managed to raise £2,465 in under two months.
Ripon Spa Baths
The spa was opened to the public in October 1905 by Princess Henry of Battenberg and her daughter Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg. It was said to be the only spa in the country to have been opened by a royal family member and was the last traditional spa to open in Britain.
Due to a fierce competition between spa towns, Ripon Spa Baths suffered as a result and the spa’s pump room closed in 1936 at the time when the venue was converted to a swimming baths.
Harrogate Borough Council proposed selling the historic Grade II-listed building in 2018 and 2021. It is still currently on sale and will be replaced with a new pool.
Leeds International Pool
From the year it opened in 1967, the building attracted a lot of controversy due to being closed for repairs and renovations. Its facilities were used by more than 220,000 people in the first six months, which at the time was almost half the population of Leeds.
The architect, John Poulson, was convicted for fraud in 1974. The venue closed for good in October 2007 and was demolished in December 2009. The site has been used as two surface car parks since 2010 by Leeds City Council.
Queensbury Pool, West Yorkshire
The Grade II listed building was built in 1887 and during its most popular period, it accommodated a library, council rooms, and a public hall used by Black Dyke Mills Band. The Victorian baths were installed in 1891.
The pool was closed to the public in November 2019 and is due to be replaced with another facility.
Richard Dunn Sports Centre
The centre opened in 1978 and attracted big crowds. It was packed with activities including a pool, sports hall, sauna, gym, outdoor pitches, a bar and a dance studio. Its namesake was Bradford heavyweight boxer and scaffolder, Richard Dunn. It was closed in November 2019 and was replaced by the Sedbergh Leisure Centre.
It was initially scheduled to be demolished in April 2020, but the pandemic delayed plans. The site has been used as a car park for Odsal Stadium until they find a more permanent use for it.
Halifax Swimming Pool
It was built 50 years ago and over time it has become a treasure for dedicated swimmers who trained there.
Due to severe construction damage and deterioration of the building and utilities, it was deemed unsafe to remain open, so it was closed down early this year and will be replaced with another leisure centre.
St James’ Baths
The leisure centre was first opened in June 1932 and it once hosted The Beatles in the 1960s. But as a result of falling into disrepair and structural issues, the building closed down in September 2013.
East Leeds Leisure Centre
Built in 1985, this structure was closed down in March 2011 and was used as a free school for students in 2016.
Rhodesway Pool, Allerton
The centre was built in 1974 and became popular with visitors and members. However, due to alleged cuts in government funding, the building was forced to shut down in July 2011, along with Manningham Pool, which devastated the public so much they held fierce protests, predominantly from the Bradford Dolphin Swimming Club members, who had trained there for more than 30 years.
Manningham Pool, Bradford
It was designed by Frederick Edwards and opened to the public in 1904. It was closed down at the same time as Rhodesway Pool in 2011 and this resulted in backlash coming from the public, including members of the Victorian Society who dubbed the closure a ‘crime’.
South Leeds Leisure Centre, Beeston
The centre was built in 1980 and the facility became an asset to the people of Beeston. So much so that when plans were announced to shut the building down in 2010, a campaign was launched to stop it from happening.
Postcards were signed by more than 2,000 people who opposed the plan. However, despite their efforts, the building closed down in November 2010.
East Hull Baths
The Victorian building was first opened in 1989 on Holderness Road. The decision to close the facility down was met with outrage from the public, however, it was decided that the building was ageing and needed a revamp.