On the coast
Havre des Pas Pool
A busy pool in the 1930s
In 1889 proposals were put forward by the Jersey Swimming Club to build two outdoor bathing pools, one for women and one for men. In the event only one was proceeded with and initially it was restricted to use by ladies, although eventually men were admitted as well
Jersey Swimming Club
The Jersey Swimming Club was established in 1865 by a group of swimming enthusiasts concerned about the frequent accidents and loss of life at bathing areas around the island. The club aimed to create safe environments for swimming and soon designated areas in the Havre des Pas area for this purpose.
Plans for a permanent bathing area were produced in 1874 and again in 1889 when Mr Genge submitted a plan for the construction of a pool within the area of water between Fisherman’s Rock and d’Augergne Rock.
In 1882 Mr Lloyd presented two plans for bathing accommodation which included two pools (for gentlemen and ladies). Both plans were approved but only one pool was ever built.
Havre des Pas Swimming Pool was opened on 22 May 1895, built on a plot of foreshore leased from the Crown. It consisted of a large pool attached to a circular granite tower high above the water mark. The tower contained changing booths and a club room. It was connected to land by a steel and timber bridge which enabled bathers to get ashore at high water.
The Swimming Club enjoyed great popularity, especially in the 1920s and 30s, which resulted in a period of continual improvement to the facilities. 29 new cabins were built on the tower in 1922 and the floor of the tower was concreted over.
An extension to celebrate the diamond jubilee of the club was built in 1925. R C Blampied designed the extension which had to be painted to reduce the glare of the sun and became known as the Blue Terrace.
Gales weakened the bridge in 1931 and it was replaced. In the same year a lower terrace was under construction below the Blue Terrace.
In 1934 new dressing baskets and fresh water showers were installed. A large new office was also built with bathing terrace above. In 1936 an open air dressing area was built of concrete on the upper terrace. In 1937 the diving pit was deepened and widened.
During the German Occupation the pool slid into disrepair, not aided by a storm which ripped off the roof and diving boards in October 1945. After the Liberation repairs were carried out to the terrace and sea wall. In the 1950s improvements continued which included a pool shop on the tower and dismantling cabins at the rear of the Blue Terrace, which was roofed and converted into a store.
In 1956 the main gates at the top of the bridge were constructed. In 1957 a new reinforced concrete diving stage was built.
However, after the war the Jersey Swimming Club failed to return to the financial stability it had enjoyed. Inclement weather increased the decline of the pool as gales battered the exposed pool and terraces every winter.
The attraction of the outdoor pool diminished further when Fort Regent swimming pool opened in 1972, and the swimming club moved to Fort Regent.
Structurally the granite work withstood weather conditions, but the concrete additions suffered and the link bridge was destroyed by storms.
A major restoration project was carried out by the Waterfront Enterprise Board, funded by the States, to a scheme drawn up by BDK Architects. It included a new bridge link from Havre des Pas promenade, new cafeteria, changing facilities and a new arc of terracing overlooking the pool, which reopened in 2000.
A photograph by Winifred Hakeman from the Société Jersiaise collection