Nostalgia: Remembering Scarborough’s vast South Bay pool

It was constructed during the First World War while Scarborough was under German bombardment – but as these pictures from the archive demonstrate, the big old pool on the South Bay soon became a paradise for pleasure seekers.

circa 1929:  Crowds watching the platform diving at Scarborough, Yorkshire.  (Photo by Alfred Hind Robinson/A H Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
circa 1929: Crowds watching the platform diving at Scarborough, Yorkshire. (Photo by Alfred Hind Robinson/A H Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The brainchild of the borough engineer, Harry W Smith, who also conceived Peasholm Park and the Floral Hall, the art deco attraction was the first pool of its kind in England with built-in diving boards, a water chute, changing rooms and showers. It contained nearly 2m gallons of filtered and chlorinated sea water, and preceded the famous North Bay pool by nearly 25 years.

The Amateur Swimming Association held its annual championships there, but most visitors were content to just splash around, or watch others do it – especially when a vast spectator area was added.

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After it closed in 1989, the site was used to construct the UK’s largest illuminated “star map”, which glows at night as fibre optic light points.

circa 1930: Fountain and public swimming pool, Battery Park, Scarborough, Yorkshire. (Photo by Alfred Hind Robinson/A H Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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circa 1917: Bathers on a raft at the bathing pool at South Cliff, Yorkshire. (Photo by Alfred Hind Robinson/A H Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
circa 1917: Bathers at the swimming pool at South Cliff, Scarborough, Yorkshire. (Photo by Alfred Hind Robinson/A H Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
circa 1917: The diving board at the bathing pool at the South Cliff, Scarborough, Yorkshire. (Photo by Alfred Hind Robinson/A H Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
1st June 1918: Bathers in the bathing pool at South Cliff, Scraborough, Yorkshire. (Photo by Alfred Hind Robinson/A H Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
circa 1917: The bathing pool at the South Cliff, Scarborough, Yorkshire. (Photo by Alfred Hind Robinson/A H Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
June 1917: A high dive into the bathing pool at the South Cliff, Scarborough, Yorkshire. (Photo by Alfred Hind Robinson/A H Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)