Hatfield School Swimming Pool Presentation, 13 July 1957

Christine Martindale

At the end of 1955 an association was formed to build a full size swimming pool for Hatfield School. Fund raising events were held and a large number of families guaranteed weekly sums which were collected from the pupils at school. Plans and specifications were drawn up and by January 1956 these were approved by the County Council. By October 1956 the main tank was completed, painted and shown to be water tight when the Headmaster swam in the pool. The pupils swam in the pool for the first time on 31 May 1957. By 30 June 1957 the Hatfield School Swimming Bath fund had raised £1,420. The total cost came well within the £2,000 asked for. This swimming pool sadly no longer exists and the site of it is now covered by buildings on the University of Hertfordshire’s Campus along College Lane. Does anyone remember the pool being built and have a story to tell? For a more detailed account of the building of the pool see below.

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This page was added on 16/03/2017.

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  • I was very excited when the school built a pool. We used to go to Stanborough, outdoors I was not used to as I had moved from Bristol and swam most days in indoor pools, including an olympic sized.
    I lived in Hatfield and cycled to Watford pool on Saturday mornings.
    Hatfield School 55/56 to 59.

    By Ken Doggrell (27/02/2021)
  • I only too well remember the pool being built, and how freezing cold the water usually seemed. I also remember on one occasion levering myself out of the pool side as an excited new person ran diagonally towards and dived into the pool. His knee and my head were going in opposite directions, causing my blood to change the pool colour. The unsympathetic teacher ordered me, semi conscious, out of the pool to avoid further darkening. Sadly I cannot recall name of teacher or idiot pupil but still have the scar, though luckily do not have receding hair some 60+ years later.

    By John Tennocks (24/05/2020)
  • I’m sorry to contradict Peter Read about the picture, but I can identify five of the people in the pool area as I was the one climbing out of the shallow end: David Hutton. The one opening a door to a cubicle is our father, Kenneth; swimming in the deep end is my elder brother, Michael, and Mary and Hugh my younger siblings are on the springboard and high board respectively. I don’t remember who the fully-clothed people on the far side were, but I believed they were children of one of the teachers, perhaps Vic Hughes?
    The picture was taken by a professional photographer from J. Arthur Dixon, who produced a large number of picture post cards which the school used to advertise the success of the pool project. I still have one.
    I played only minor roles in the construction, such as cleaning out wheelbarrows, as I was at Newtown County Primary School till July 1957, after which I joined Hatfield School as a pupil.
    Our family was keen on swimming in this pool, as prior to its being available I had only “swum” in the pool in Welwyn Garden City, which had very cold water and was breezy, a combination almost designed to discourage. But Kenneth offered each of us his children a small sum of money when we first swam a width and then our first length. (It might have been 5 shillings, which would have bought 15 4d Mars bars. If that size were available today they would all cost about £3 or £4, I guess.) I managed to be the first to swim a width, but I had to be able to hold my breath as I could only swim underwater: I was so dense I sank. I wasn’t the first to swim a length; I only managed that when I could hold my breath for the full 25 yards!

    By David Hutton (24/10/2019)
  • Wonderful to read these comments, although sad to learn of the demise of the pool. My parents were involved in the construction, and I swam there in my five years at Hatfield School 57 – 62. My older brother Richard attended there too
    Our surname was Manning.

    By Jenny Wistreich (01/02/2019)
  • I swam in the first gala they had at the new pool. We students had helped to build the pool. Does anyone remember George Qwen, History teacher in the early years, who inspired me to go to Canada, BC The day I got a passport. Never lived in England since. Thanks George

    By Michael A Lince (30/11/2018)
  • The highlight of the pool opening was the Head, Kenneth Hutton being thrown in fully clothed. All staged of course, but made the tabloids and delighted me as a 2nd year.

    By Steve Roberts (26/10/2018)
  • That’s me climbing out of the pool. I was shown the photo after it was developed.

    By Peter Read (21/01/2018)
  • I was at Hatfield School from 1959 to 1966 and my elder brother was there from 1955 to 1962. Actually my primary school, now Hazelgrove in South Hatfield, was initially in one corridor of the Hatfield School building. I remember well when the pool was built by parents and teachers. There were casts of mermaids and fish made and we were allowed to swim after doing an hours work. The filtration plant, a large metal cylinder filled with different grades of gravel, came from the Clock Restaurant north of Hatfield on the A1. I helped dig out the gravel as I was small enough to get inside. Sorry that it has now gone.

    By Ron Horgan (05/09/2017)