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1904-1905 The new Cuckfield Swimming Baths

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 06 September 1904

CUCKFIELD. Swimming Bath contemplated.

— The Cuckfield Improvements Association, which has done much to benefit the town in various ways, is now interesting itself in the direction of providing a swimming bath for Cuckfieldians. A most desirable project! The idea of utilising the old Drill Hall for the purpose has been dropped, after consideration of the cost of conversion and subsequent maintenance, and efforts are now being made to secure a bathing station outdoors. It to be earnestly hoped that those efforts will be crowned with success.

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 04 July 1905

Opening of the Bathing Station.

—The Cuckfield Improvement Association has rendered the town another great service by providing a bathing station at Mackerell’s Farm. The bath is about 180ft. long by 30ft. wide, and the depth rises from 3ft. to 6ft. Provision has been made for bathers to undress in a small building, and it hoped that every youth with “grit” in the town will take advantage of the bath and learn to swim.

Cuckfield Swimming Baths in 1934

The opening ceremony was performed on Saturday evening by Mr. R. A. Bevan, J.P. (President of the Association), in the presence of a goodly number of residents, among whom we noticed Captain Sergison, J.P., Major Maberly, J.P., the Rev. A. J. Druce, the Rev. Hector Maclean, the Rev. T. P. Smith, Mr. L. F. Gibb, Mr. W. Herrington, Mr. R. Harris, Mr. S. Knight, Mr. Owen, Miss Payne, Miss Bevan, Miss Best, Miss Knight, Mr. and Mrs. W. Stevens, Mr. O. H. Waugh (Hon. Secretary of the Association), Mrs. Waugh, the Misses Wrightson and Mr. A. Robinson.

The President, in the course of pleasant opening speech, said there were many finishing touches to be done to make the place more attractive and ornamental, but the Association was extremely anxious that it should be ready for use at the earliest possible moment. The inhabitants must look upon the scene with a prophetic eye and imagine what an attractive spot it would be in ten years’ time.

That site was the only suitable place within a reasonable distance of Cuckfield. The banks were solid, and had never been disturbed. They had evidence that the next field had been scoured over in quarrying for ironstone in the 17th and 18th centuries. Another advantage was that the pool rested on a solid rock, with the exception of few spots which had been paved with slabs found close by.

The water could be easily run off, and the whole bottom swept and kept clean, and the gold rings, diamond bangles, eye glasses, spectacles and other things bathers so often left behind when visiting bathing places—(laughter)— recovered. It was usual on such occasions to speak of superhuman efforts and insuperable difficulties successfully surmounted, but he had no such story to tell. Their task had gone smoothly from first to last. As to ways and means, they were met in a most friendly spirit by subscribers, and they very soon had assurances of sufficient money to proceed with the work. (Applause). Captain Sergison had taken as keen an interest as anybody—(Loud applause) —and offered them really more ground than they could advantageously take.

The tenants Mr. Symons, Mr. Upton and Mr. Webber—had shown every consideration, especially Mr. Symons, and they had been most fortunate in their architect, engineer and builder all rolled into one, Mr. S. Knight, who had given his best in brain, perseverance, and labour. (Applause). There were two stipulations made that the bathing-place should be self-supporting (and he hoped the bathing club would get sufficient members to make it so), and that reasonable provision should be made for ladies. They had not pleased everybody, but they would welcome any suggestion for the improvement of the place or the management of it.

Their sincere hope was that it would be of service, and a means of healthy enjoyment, and that this enjoyment might never be marred by any accident from any cause whatever. (Applause). Major Maberly expressed the hope that the place would be very much used, especially by young bathers. Swimming was a most useful and natural exercise. He hoped the Cuckfield boys would join the Club, and learn to become good and efficient swimmers. (Applause).

The Rev. A. J. Druce thanked the Committee who had brought the work to that stage. He impressed on the young people the usefulness of learning to swim and to float. He suggested prizes to encourage them, and before he left announced that would offer at least two prizes for competition among young members of the Club. (Applause). Mr. Bevan then declared the bathing-place open, whereupon Mr. J. Grace and Mr. R. A. Clay, both of the Wyllies, Cuckfield, plunged in, to the delight of the spectators. They were afterwards joined in the water by some members of the Burgess Hill Swimming Club. We hope the day is not far distant when it will be found possible to arrange a water polo match between Cuckfield and Burgess Hill.

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 11 July 1905

CUCKFIELD. The Swimming Club.

— The gentlemen who were instrumental in getting Cuckfield its swimming bath will interested to learn that upwards of 110 members have joined the Swimming Club.



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