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Winter 2010



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Barrow Voice is published by Barrow upon Soar Community Association. Opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed by the editorial committee or the Community Association.

Barrow Community Association is a registered Charity No: 505692.

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31st January 2011

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Drastic measures for village pool

In July the Governors of Humphrey Perkins School decided very reluctantly that drastic measures were needed for the school pool. At the end of December the pool will be closed down and won't re-open until September 1st 2011. It will then be available to school and community again until it closes at the end of the following December. Unless a miracle solution surfaces, this pattern will be repeated.

So what's the problem? Well, there are (at least) three: the first is that school recently learnt of the £40,000 cost to keep the pool open per year! Much of that cost is in heating the air above the water. The second problem is that the pool building is not insulated so the heat blown out by the ancient heaters is lost straight away to the outside air. The third problem is that the structure and fabric of the pool are old and in no way comply with modern requirements.

In order to solve the insulation problems short term, the windows would need to be replaced with double-glazed units and the roof insulated. Building consent would never be given to insulate the roof without bringing up the structure to modern requirements. Long term, the pool really needs rebuilding or closing down permanently. The current compromise reflects the hope that a solution may turn up magically.

We thought it would be interesting to unearth some memories of the pool in earlier days.

How the pool began

It was presumably built by the LEA just for HPHS. (Does anyone know when?) While Mr Dunn was Head Master, the pool was only available to pupils and staff. Even Hall Orchard Primary School was refused permission to use it. I remember knocking Drastic measures for village pool on Mr Dunn's front door after school with my teacher friend Criss to ask if we might swim. If he agreed, we would walk through his garden to swim un-guarded in the unheated and un-roofed pool.

Then, in 1971, Wynne Morris was appointed Head with the specific task of introducing the community dimension to HPHS. That represents the starting point of the Community Association, the Community Centre and the building of the Community Lounge and kitchen. It also saw a series of annual whole school sponsored walks to fund raise for the building of a roof over the pool. It was a profitable and healthy approach, raising about £9,000 per walk. In the first stage, pillars were built and the roof erected over the pool but with no walls, a bit like a gazebo. The trouble was the bird droppings and nest material that constantly splattered onto the swimmers below! After walls were built, a Swimming Pool Committee was set up to manage the community use of the pool and they organised a grand opening to introduce the public to the pool. Peter Yates, Wynne Morris and Barry Doxey did a sponsored swim and raised enough money to install lights inside the pool. Putting the lights up was the very first time the community had worked as volunteers to improve facilities at HPHS. Shortly afterwards, a team of residents built the spectators entrance (so they didn't have to wade through the foot bath to get in). Kate Morley ran the first community swimming lessons in 1974, for mums and babies which led quickly to the Barrow Swimming Club. This has operated on a Friday evening ever since and has taught generations of Barrow children to swim safely. Hall Orchard School started Saturday morning swimming lessons and public sessions opened up. Suddenly, the people of Barrow had a pool they could use.

There is still an active Swimming Pool Committee whose role is to manage community use and we will shortly be meeting to see if any progress has been made on the pool future.

Of course, if you're reading this and feel moved to do the magic wand-waving, £1,000,000 would come in handy!

Judith Rodgers