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Swimming Memories

I had a knitted two-piece bathing costume

Swimming was like a social gathering.  Some swimming costumes were knitted and when you went into the water, they would stretch but you didn’t always realize it, it was very embarrassing.

When a costume stretched, we would tie knots in the shoulders to take them up a bit.

There was no changing room all we had was a large tarpaulin that we had to change behind.

Tynemouth open-air pool was tidal, and the tide brought in crabs and seaweed even fish, but we kept on going there.

We had to walk from school to the Hawkey’s Lane Swimming Pool.  There was no heating at all it was even cold in the summer, we then had to walk back to school shivering all the way.

I lived near the Whitley Bay Bus Station and managed to get hold of a great big bus tyre.  We would take it down to the beach and we had great fun with it. We also used to take a big stick and a ball so that we could have a game of rounders.

The Tynemouth Pool had steps going all the way down to the bottom.  That’s how I learned to swim, each time I went I managed to get a little deeper.

I had a knitted one-piece swimming costume and used to come out of the water trying to pull it up from my knees.

I remember having a knitted bathing costume, when I came out of the sea it was around my knees.

I remember coming out of the sea holding the costume up in case it came off.

I had a shirring elastic costume it left my skin looking like crazy paving.

I had a knitted two-piece bathing costume.  When it got wet the bottom part got very heavy and tended to stretch and looked a bit like a disposable nappy with the gusset down near my knees.

I couldn’t swim I was very nervous, and my dad told me he would give me a shilling if I swam to the other side (the width of the pool).  I was straight in and got my prize.

In those days you couldn’t go into the swimming pool if you didn’t have a bathing hat.

I used to get the green bus along the low road from Shields to Wallsend Baths.  I had a season ticket and each journey the bus conductor would click it making a small hole in it.  When we came out of the baths our eyes would be sore and red with the chlorine, we would then go and buy three pennyworths of chips to eat on the way home.

One of my best memories is getting out of the freezing cold water, shivering and then hugging a mug of hot Bovril or Oxo.

I think they closed the open-air pool at Tynemouth when the Polio scare was on.

We used to have Swimming Galas but the Municipal High School (North Shields) always won.

We went swimming in Cullercoats Bay and we used to get changed in the caves.

There weren’t any cloakrooms, so they gave us a basket with a big wire handle. We hung our coats over the handle and our clothes went in the bottom of the basket.  We had to look after them ourselves.

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