Nostalgia by Robert Heaven

NOW the clocks have changed and the nights are getting lighter, despite the still-chilly nights, it feels like summer is only just around the corner.

Many Ciren people will tell you, though, it’s not really summer until the Ciren open air pool opens in May.

The Ciren Pool which celebrates its 150 year anniversary next year, was built during the winter of 1869/70 by local business men who leased the land from Lord Bathurst.

The council took it over in 1896, and they bought the lease of the land from Lord Bathurst in 1931.

When the pool first opened, there were few people that could actually swim in Cirencester.

There was no real need to know and few people in fact had ever been fully immersed in water: To be able to do so in Ciren, brought excitement and danger!

Ciren Pool has never been very deep, but nonetheless in the early days, ropes were placed to assist bathers to navigate their ways around the pool.

Some people didn’t quite make it and the Coroner remarked at an inquest held at the Crown Inn, (June 22nd 1872) about the “great strange effect a bath would have upon any person for the first time”.

The inquest was into the death of 19-year-old Sarah Hawkins who was making her way around the edge of the pool holding the rope and fainted in just five feet of water.

She sank directly to the bottom without being noticed by the female attendant who had earlier provided her with towels and a swimming dress.

The Coroner said it was the third case of drowning that week and he presented two copies of the Royal Humane Society’s instructions and regulations to the Mr Superintendent Woods in the hope they would be conspicuously placed at the Ciren baths where everybody could read them.

Mr Superintendent Woods undertook to do so and thanked the coroner.

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