St Luke’s pool, Brighton

Many schools in the early 20th century had their own swimming pools, but this is the first one I’ve been in. The poor physical state of the nation’s young men signing up to join the Boer War had come as a shock, and so healthy exercise was encouraged.

St Luke’s Pool is part of an impressive complex which includes a board school and caretaker’s house, all designed by Thomas Simpson, and constructed 1900-3. There’s also a fine set of railings out front which together make this part of a very dignified composition, and quite a landmark in this part of Brighton.

The pool is still well-used by local school children, but is now administratively detached from the school and run by DC Leisure on behalf of Brighton and Hove City Council. Two adjoining former classrooms have been incorporated to provide changing rooms (this would have originally been in individual cubicles around the perimeter of the pool hall).

The pool itself has been modernised, but the original wooden balcony still survives, though truncated. The metal roof is concealed above a suspended ceiling, but there’s still no mistaking the fact you’re swimming in an historic building.

And it’s very popular with locals. When I was there they were swimming nose-to-tail, proving that you don’t need to have competition standard 25m pools to get people in the water.

St Luke’s Terrace, Brighton, East Sussex
Listed Grade II on 4 January 1995
105 lengths swum on 19 August 2008

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