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13 November 2014

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You are in: Leeds > Places > Places features > Love it or loathe it?

Leeds International Pool

The pool in its heyday

Love it or loathe it?

The distinctive Leeds International Pool closed its doors for the last time in October 2007, here you can see photographs of that Leeds landmark.

Phill Davison is a member of The Leeds Historical Expedition Society, he gained access to the pool and has taken some outstanding pictures of the building. He was given an official guided tour by Leeds City Council, in his pictures he has also noted some of the vandalism that has taken place within the building.

A deserted International Pool (Phill Davison)

A deserted International Pool

For 40 years the city centre pool has claimed its distinctive place on the city's skyline. Love it or loathe it, the building has always generated strong feelings. Its innovative design was by disgraced Yorkshire architect John Poulson (he was jailed in 1974 for his part in a bribery and corruption scandal). The building has a distinctive 1960s look.

Over the years the pool has provided a base for the City of Leeds Swimming Club to become one of the country's leading clubs. Its proximity to the centre of Leeds made it an ideal place for recreational swimmers too.

The building was often described as 'the Olympic pool' but in fact it was too narrow to meet Olympic criteria and was actually built to a lesser International standard. This fact may explain the persistent urban myth that the pool had been built an inch too short.

Despite a campaign that described the pool as "...a dramatic building, strongly geometric, uncompromising in character, and a landmark for the city",  the pool closed and the land is expected to be redeveloped.

Around the time of the closure comments about the pool on the BBC Leeds website were mixed.

David Townson said; "I have just had my last swim at the LIP on its closing day. It is a sad day for the city of Leeds and its people. I have been swimming there three times a week for the last nine years and will be sad now it has gone."

Leeds International Pool

The diving area in happier days

Rob was not sad. "I dived at the pool for nearly 10 years, I have some good memories of being there but that's nothing to do with the building. Lets face it, it's been falling to pieces for years and now they have built an nice new pool so what is everyone complaining about!"

A replacement pool opened at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Beeston during October 2007.

Your views:

Rodney Thornton: I worked on it for Phillips plasterers of Beeston, I was labouring for the floor screeders, mixing sand and cement, and barrowing it inside, the cement mixer had a broken hinge, on the engine cowling, so we had to prop it up with a piece of wood, I was winding the starting handle one morning, and the the wood fell out and the cowling hit my hand breaking and cutting my thumb, I walked to the infirmary for treatment in casualty, and had to go on the sick, Phillips sacked me while I was off, imagine today if that happened, every ambulance chasing lawyer in Leeds, would want to represent me. Anyway when the pool was finished, I took my kids a few times, for we only lived on Burley road.

Mike Short: I swam there in the cub and scout swimming gala in the 70's and won first prize in breast stroke for the scouts.  A great night that I will always remember and I also learnt to swim in that pool.

Des Goaten: The pool building itself was a fantastic design. We need more buildings in Leeds that stand out, instead of glass skyscrapers, we need different old designs with a twist. I have been in the building a few times now and it was a brill atmosphere. It will be interesting in doing a visit now it is quiet and un-used. What is it to be used for now?

last updated: 04/09/2009 at 15:12
created: 30/07/2008

You are in: Leeds > Places > Places features > Love it or loathe it?

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