Swimming excitement

Joan Warren

I met John in 1932.  I was 12 and spent a lot of time at the local swimming baths.  There was a first and second class baths.  The first class had individual changing cubicles and we were given a lovely rough towel.  This cost sixpence.  If you went into the second class baths it cost 3d but had no towel or diving boards.

Photo:John and Joan 1938

John and Joan 1938

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

The local swimming club

I joined the local swimming club which was active and eventually swam and dived for the club and the school.  I was the only one of  us who really enjoyed swimming.  Pam, my sister played tennis which I thought was silly, rushing around after a ball in the heat of the summer.  I much preferred swimming.  Even in the winter, the second class baths were open but the first class had a dance floor over it.

John at the Baths

I met John at the Baths.  He said one day when all the boys were taking the girls across the baths on their shoulders, he asked if I would go on his shoulders and I said no.  On club nights, the first hour was boys and girls swimming together.  Then for the second hour, the boys played water polo.

My friend Joyce and I bought a Mars bar each and sat up in the gallery, watching the polo match.  John was a very fast swimmer and was centre forward for his team.  One evening they were playing the police, all very big and tough men, twice John's size, as he was about 16 then.

They pulled him out on the side

Suddenly, I saw John under the water, not moving and eventually our shouting attracted attention and they pulled him out on the side, coughing and spluttering.  The attendant (always one on duty) rushed up with a drink of water.  I did not hear what John said, but a drink of water after being on the bottom of the baths was the last thing he needed.

My first evening dress

When I was about 16 my sister, Molly, made my first evening dress.  It was blue satin with very large organdy sleeves.  I was so proud of it and wore it to the dance, my first grown-up dance.

When the last dance started, I could not find John and his friend Barry danced with me.  I got my coat and was waiting for John when Barry came and said John had taken Audrey
home and was coming back for me.  That did not go down too well and Barry took me home and I cried all the weekend.

After a few days, John arrived.  I could say cap in hand, but it was his bicycle.  A very happy ending for us.  We always came back together.

This page was added by Roslyn Cook on 18/11/2008.

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.