To begin this post I think a bit of background is needed. I used to swim here a lot about 5 years ago, so it can’t be as bad as I’m making out. The first thing to note is that I live less than a 5 min walk away and can shower at home.
The King’s Hall building is really pretty from the outside, but as it saddens me to say I have seen people try to steal bikes from outside before, so I walk there now. The guy on the desk was friendly and helpful wished me a good swim and said thanks when I left. This has been quite rare in other places so I think needs to be commended.
The changing rooms are horrid, there is so much murky cold water on the floor you wince with every step, I couldn’t find a single cubicle that locked despite second locks screwed on to the back of the doors. The toilets look like someone has tried to do half a refurb but the puddles on the floor just make it all dank and grim. The lockers take your 20p (there are some hooks on poolside to hang a towel) and they are really tall and thin, freestanding and metal. I’m not too fussed about decoration but it feels like you are in a mechanics garage.
The pool itself would have been absolutely gorgeous in its heyday. The walls are covered from floor to ceiling in tiles which have aged badly and now look dirty. There is a viewing balcony around the top which you can’t imagine would look spectacular if it was given a lick of paint and hadn’t been left to go rusty. The pool is nice and warm and once you are in the experience is so much better. There is a little metal rail at each end, wide enough lanes the pool feels reasonably fast, and there are no ‘No Diving’ signs. Here, health & safety still has a presence but hasn’t gone completely mental.
There is a children’s pool as well which had lessons on and when I went (Friday night – rock and indeed roll) there were lessons in half the main pool too. There were 2 other people in the pool, pensioners who were taking their time, but there was plenty of room and after a bit I got a lane to myself.
A few other people arrived, and I started to realise that this seems to be a place for people learning to swim. And I think that fits. This is the no-frills, manageable, trusty old pool where you can come to learn safely. It’s not too hectic, not too stretching, a good place to try to get out of your comfort zone.
The showers are mixed and communal, hence me rushing off, and I have been in there before with proper weirdos behaving massively inappropriately. With the changing rooms as they are, just get out quick. Also, if you are someone learning to swim then don’t think all changing rooms are like this!
This pool is great to swim in but the changing and shower situation just makes it all a bit grim.