Swimmers at Old Yearsley Bath.
100 years of swimming
By Simon Luck
For decades the people of York used the same area of the River Foss for swimming and cooling down during the hot summer months. Simon Luck, Manager of Yearsley Swimming Pool, tells the history of the pool...
The very first swimming facility in York, called Yearsley Bath, was opened on 19th September 1859 and was actually situated in the River Foss, downstream from Yearsley Bridge and the Fever Hospital.
It was about 100 yards long and had a brick bottom, with wire netting stretching across the river at either end. Stone steps led down into the water from the riverbank, complete with an iron handrail.
Old Yearsley Bath.
Two wooden huts were used as changing rooms. The current Yearsley Swimming Pool was built in 1908 by Rowntree and Company Ltd and gifted by deed to the citizens of the city of York on 4th May 1909.
The cost of building the new pool was close to £3,000 and it held 226,890 gallons of water. The inside measurements were 144 feet long by 51 feet wide, 3 feet deep
Since its original opening, and to this day, Yearsley Pool has maintained a close relationship with The Rowntree factory, now Nestlé UK Ltd. Nestlé still supply steam to heat the pool which is piped under Haxby Road.
Inside the new Yearsley Swimming Pool.
Over its long history many pool improvements have been made, however some of the existing Edwardian features still remain giving the pool character even to this day. In 1949 a water filtration plant was added at the rear of the building.
Between 1964 and 1965 the pool tank was enclosed for the first time when a roof was added. In 2007, the pool closed for four months for a major repair and refurbishment programme.
Over £1.1million was spent on improving the facility. The improvements maintain the character and features of the old Edwardian Pool whilst giving the pool a new lease of life for the future. Improvements were also made to modernise showering and toilet facilities and the building was made more accessible.
Yearsley Pool reception.
Over the years the pool has maintained an enduring appeal and has always been held in great affection by the generations that have been privileged to swim at the pool. The pool has been used and continues to be used by people young and old and people learning to swim through to competition swimmers, many of whom have reached world and Olympic standard.
Yearsley Pool is part of York’s proud heritage and remains the only Edwardian 50 yard pool in the north of England.
last updated: 24/11/2009 at 11:32