Memories of Sunderland's Newcastle Road baths - the days of foot dips, clothes baskets and Oxo

Let’s splash back to your days in the Newcastle Road baths.

Saturday, 8th January 2022, 10:20 am

After all, you had so many memories of it when we shared a photo of the popular venue on the Echo’s Facebook page.

You recalled the foot dip, the baskets you put your clothes in and even the chilly moment when you had to get out the water to get dried.

More than 43,000 people saw the post and 500 of you shared your memories.

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Newcastle Road baths which brought back fond memories for many people - even if the water was freezing!

Let’s take a look at some of them.

Jill Large remembered the ‘foot dip before going into the pool’ and she said she ‘loved the basket for your clothes. Happy days.”

Ashleigh WasPemberton Conlin recalled that moment were ‘dipping your feet in the orangey liquid before going up to the pool so you didn't get verrucas. Not wanting your armband light to go off meaning you had to get out. My Dad taught me to swim there. Just loved it.”

We also thank Norman Robson who described his days at the baths as ‘Brilliant times. Lived a few doors off. I was there at least twice a week. Sunday morning early opening time when it was empty.”

A swimathon at the baths in 2005.

Hazel Hedinburgh said: “My sister and I sometimes went twice in one day. Second visit putting on a cold still wet “costume” was a nightmare.”

Trevor Lynn remembered the ‘decent sauna’ while Mick Thoms recalled ‘coming out and getting 2 pence worth of broken biscuits across the road from the baths’.

Dave Robson said: “Main thing I remember was the water being freezing tbh.”

Others had memories of being given bus fare to get home from the baths, but spending it on treats and walking home.

A swimming gala at the Newcastle Road baths.

We just loved the reflections of Julie Walker who said: “Loved going every Sunday as a child. Loved getting a Highland Toffee afterwards as a treat too.”

Caroline Harrison had a very special reason to remember the Newcastle Road baths. “I had one of my birthday parties there. We had the whole pool to ourselves with loads of inflatables. Brilliant!”

Sharon Hall recalled ‘walking through the disinfectant going in and coming out was freezing!! Bovril and beefy crisps when we came out.’

What a memory from Fiona Duncan who said ‘Beefy XL crisps dipped in hot bovril then walking home via Portabello Lane and watching the glass blowers’. Thank you Fiona.

The photo which prompted so many memories. It shows the baths in 1972.

And thanks also to Tracey Mcmahon who commented: “Best swimming baths when growing up .... cup bovril and fizzy lizzy chew bar when you came out ... think it cost 12p to get in ..lol.”

Lucy Jane Thompson remembered the ‘lovely little entrance and reception booth, it felt so welcoming’.

And Ashleigh Wigham asked: “Did this place ever have a warm pool? Always freezing!!!”

Harriet Watson recalled ‘Thursday night swimming with the Phoenix swimming club ....and the hot chocolate’.

Who remembers the big inflatables or the penny Brylcreem machine? Stewart Francis and Malcolm Patchett did.

Thanks to everyone who took time to comment.

Newcastle Road baths in the 1930s.

Was there ever a baths which had warm water and if so, which one was it? Share your own swimming baths memories by emailing [email protected]

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The Cubs and Scouts gala in 1976. Were you there?
The baths in 1936.
The changing cubicles in 1972.
Back to 1985 and some of the children who took part in an Easter 'Learn To Swim' campaign were in the picture. Can you spot someone you know?