Come on in - but the water’s freezing!

The Newcastle Road baths.
The Newcastle Road baths.
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They were noisy, they were often freezing cold and yet ... you loved them!

Well, some of you did. They were the public baths of Sunderland where many of you went for your school swimming lessons. We asked you for your memories of them, you came up with some wonderful and funny replies.

The Thorney Close swimming team at the High Street baths in the 1960s.

The Thorney Close swimming team at the High Street baths in the 1960s.

Shirley Mowbray recalled: “We had to go to High Street baths from West Park school. Had to walk in twos wearing the dreaded maroon beret there and back hoping against hope that it would blow away as we crossed the railway bridge.”

And then came Veronica Knowles who said: “My beret blew off on to the railway lines on the way there. Kept getting stopped by 6th form prefects in town and told off for not wearing it.”

Mandy Tucker recalled one particular aspect of a trip to the baths. “Always hated the little bit that you were supposed to walk through before you got in the pool that had a couple of inches of cold water with hairs and fluff.”

Joan Marghani went to St Josephs Millfield and “used to walk to High Street baths on a Friday.”

We had to go to High Street baths from West Park school. Had to walk in twos wearing the dreaded maroon beret there and back hoping against hope that it would blow away as we crossed the railway bridge

Shirley Mowbray

We are indebted to Philip Curtis of the Sunderland Antiquarian Society for first reminiscing on the good old days of school swimming.

Other High Street baths users included Denise Litchfield, Janet Witty, and Kay Forster and they all had one thing in common - they all agreed the baths were freezing.

Maureen Henry said: “My mother wouldn’t let me go in case I drowned” while Lynne Yarnell commented: “Herrington High street baths OMG horrible little cubicles.”

Les Dowding went to Durham baths on a Friday while Audrey Kirtley said: “High Street baths. Hated it with a passion.”

Another view of the Newcastle Road baths.

Another view of the Newcastle Road baths.

We’re hoping even more of you will get in touch to re-live your school swimming lesson days.

Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk