'Freezing cold water and Bovril afterwards' - what you had to say about the Newcastle Road baths

The water was freezing and the disinfectant foot well was horrendous but boy did you love the Newcastle Road baths.

Sunday, 2nd May 2021, 7:00 am

We asked for your memories of the former Sunderland venue and you did not disappoint.

More than 50,000 people took a look at the story. Here is what you had to say.

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Our feature about the Newcastle Road baths reached tens of thousands of people.
Our feature about the Newcastle Road baths reached tens of thousands of people.

Laura Downey said: “I remember the metal panelling separating the two pools with the tiny little circles as I would peep through to the smaller pool.

“The chlorine tiled foot bath you were supposed to step in but everyone stepped over it and I can remember some kind of animal bin in the reception like a penguin or duck with its mouth as the opening of the bin.”

Sue Haley said: “Loved a cup of Oxo when I came out of the pool.”

Carol Graham Cole commented: “The water was cold but still enjoyed it.”

A flashback to the days of the Newcastle Road baths.

Donna Weiss reflected: “The hot chocolate from the machine after swimming was just the best !!!”

And Carly J Gray said: “Great memories of going here.. One the memories I will never forget is jumping into the baby pool and breaking my toe. Then that manky brown water ya had to step in when going into the changing rooms. Scarred me for life that.”

Kay Thompson wasn’t a fan of the disinfectant dip either and said ‘it stunk’.

Pat Anne Stewart remembered ‘going for lessons with the school and the water always very cold.’

The Newcastle Road baths a year before they closed.

Stewart Francis commented: “My grandad lived over the road and taught me how to swim there. Grange park school had the swimming classes there.”

Chris Sumby remembered ‘doing my 10m badge. Progressing to Gold Water survival. Visited 5-6 times a week.”

Ken Tweedy reminisced on ‘coming out of the water like a wrinkled prune then down to the windy corridor, brrrrr.”

And Matthew Mason-Gage remembered ‘the coat hanger thing with a basket on the bottom you put your clothes in instead of a locker’.

The outside of the baths.

On the same theme, Chris Higgins asked: “Anyone else remember the massive baskets on a coat hanger that you'd hand in to the changing room attendant in exchange for your wristband?”

Elizabeth Leng said: “We used to walk there from Redby Juniors for swimming lessons.”

Helen Sylvia Kerr Voura said: “Went with school West Southwick and in summer went with the lasses from school. We had to choose on drying hair, bus fare or Bovril. We all chose Bovril and crackers. Enjoyed walk home soaked to the skin. We never felt the cold.”

Others remembered a toffee treat they got from the machine afterwards.

Selene Holyoak said ‘we always got a solid orange toffee type bar thing on the way out. I'm surprised any of our teeth survived’.

Colin Ramsden Snr recalled ‘coming out and getting a cup of Oxo and some cream crackers to warm up,, mmmmm.”

A swimathon at the baths in 2005.

Carl Weatherall said: “The water was always freezing lol’ and Gordon Harland simply commented ‘Cold...... just cold.”

Our thanks go to everyone who took the time to leave comments.

To get in touch and share your own baths memories, email [email protected]

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