Popular outdoor pool had seating for 10,000 people but is now lost to history

This photo may have been taken on the day Deganwy bathing pool was opened in 1934.
-Credit: (Image: UGC)

These vintage images depict swimmers enjoying the fresh air and invigorating experience of an outdoor dip at a once-popular pool in North Wales. Regrettably, Deganwy bathing pool is now a thing of the past - but it would undoubtedly be a hit today.

The pool, which was even situated near a zoo, was constructed close to Deganwy Promenade in 1934. However, it eventually fell victim to the unyielding bulldozer of "progress".

Today, an estate of white houses stands on the site, and photographic evidence is almost necessary to convince one that this remarkable attraction ever existed. Local historian Vicky Macdonald previously told North Wales Live that the "West Shore and Deganwy Bathing Pool" was the brainchild of R Arthur Jones, a local auctioneer and estate agent.

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She said: "The large sea water-filled pool became a very popular venue, holding swimming galas and diving competitions from its high, five-metre diving board. The pool was filled with water from the Irish Sea which was filtered and chlorinated.

"The pool was 210 feet long and 100 feet wide. As well as the five-metre diving board there were two one-metre springboards, one three-metre springboard all of which were above ten feet of water.

A swimmer prepares to dive in to Deganwy bathing pool in the 1930s
A swimmer prepares to dive in to Deganwy bathing pool in the 1930s -Credit:UGC

"There were two small chutes for children and one full size chute. At the bottom of the pool there were racing division lines. The seating capacity was for 8,000 to 10,000 people and there were 1,000 lockers in two separate changing blocks.

"There was underwater lighting, with 70 portholes round the sides and floodlit lighting at night for evening bathing. There were fountains at either end of the pool.

"Clubs of all kinds attracted hundreds of people a day to swim and enjoy the sprung dance floor and other events in the cafe." In 1937 R. Arthur Jones put forward expansion plans but WWII intervened.

Ms Macdonald said: "He had wanted to build an eight-storey hotel around the pool with a separate apartment block. He gained planning permission, (the plans included a shadow hospital and an air raid shelter) but Adolf Hitler put paid to that and the hotel was never built."

Upon R. Arthur Jones' death, the pool was sold to Arthur Brown, of Deganwy, who owned "Browns Radio" in Llandudno. Throughout the 1950s it hosted Bathing Beauty contests with famous faces of the time acting as judges.

Swimmers enjoying a trip to Deganwy bathing pool in the 1950s
Swimmers enjoying a trip to Deganwy bathing pool in the 1950s -Credit:UGC

Arthur Brown introduced a zoo, which held exotic animals including a python, a porcupine, a spider monkey and a Himalayan Red Panda and a wallaby. The pool was finally closed in 1964 and the land sold for housing development.

The pool was located on the A546 Deganwy Road between the road and the railway line. The houses at Traeth Melyn are built over the pool and Deganwy Beach is where the car park was situated.

Reflecting on the lost pool, Ms Macdonald said: "It seems so very sad that this amazing pool was filled in and built on. It had given at least two generations of fun and swimming pleasure.

"All the photos show people having a wonderful time, laughing and smiling, enjoying the sunshine and the rain, through war and peace, all seasons and from morning till night. Over the 28 years it was open, families, school parties, young teenagers on their bikes, little ones in the children’s pool all enjoyed the endless things to do.

Deganwy bathing pool was near the hills of the Vardre
Deganwy bathing pool was near the hills of the Vardre -Credit:UGC

"They could roller skate, play crazy golf, ride donkeys, race tortoises, watch swimming galas and Bathing Beauty contests. They could take part in swimming competitions, watch amazing shows, terrify themselves by diving off the 5 metre board, splash each other or just slide down one of the chutes and swim.

"They enjoyed dances, took part in radio competitions, listened to the Everly Brothers on the juke box and socialized and flirted. They visited the zoo and saw a porcupine and a red panda or ate ice cream watching the world go by.

"For a while there were pedalos and a little merry go round, toy cars with miniature petrol pumps and visits from famous names. It was never too expensive to get in and thousands of young and old learnt about swimming and life!

"If it were now, I hope that we would have strived to save it, but then it was the 60s and building homes and moving into a bright new future was paramount. R. Arthur Jones had the greatest intention of building somewhere the public could take exercise and enjoy the surroundings with friends and family.

"Arthur Brown wanted to entertain the public and make their lives more exciting and dramatic. They both succeeded."

  • Vicky Macdonald wrote a book called "From the first Plunge to the last Porcupine. A History of the Llandudno - Deganwy Bathing Pool 1933 -1964."

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