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Friday, 22 October 2010

THE CENTRAL BATHS - 60S/70S

The original Dundee Corporation Public Baths had 3 main salt water pools and a load of other bathing areas such as Turkish baths, plunge baths, foam baths, aeratone baths, as well as the other essential, a cafe.
The top photo was taken in March 1962 and features pupils from Harris Academy have a good splash about at their Gala day. It also shows the spectators balcony.
The picture under it is a couple of lads sharing a cubicle just before the baths closed its doors for good around 1974/75 because of the opening of the new Leisure Centre.
The baths were also known locally as the "Shorers" and I have a couple of hazy memories of being there in the 60's.
I'm sure this was the place where on one visit, our allotted time in the pool was up and the attendant blew his whistle to let everyone know it was time to get out. However, there were a small group who tried to stay in just that little bit longer, so the attendant went over to one of the cubicles, grabbed a handful of clothes, held them above the water and shouted "If you're not out of there in under a minute, the clothes get chucked in!". The mad dash to get out cleared the pool in no time!

18 comments:

  1. I remember you had to walk through the Turkish Bath area to get to the ladies pool. It was all tiles and gleaming copper and if I remember correctly the baths themselves appeared to be much deeper than a normal household bath.
    I also remember that there were cast-iron turnstyles at the front door too.

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  2. I remember being taken to the central baths in the late sixties by my an older cousin, it was before I learned to swim and I remmber being terrified going in and out of the entrance because you could virtually fall straight into the tay because there was no handrail.

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  3. Before the blissful days of Speedo's, I can still remember the nightmare days of mid 60's trunks! They looked like they were made of carpet underlay felt, they itched like loft lagging and they were as absorbent as blotting paper!!!

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  4. There was a great wee snack bar where you could buy your "shivery bite" and I once saw the wee dame out of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

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  5. I learned to swim there at the monday evening police club as did my sibblings, the metal baskets that you would put your clothes in would be left at the side of the pool if you were late coming out, and then the stockcube in boiling water (soup)to warm you up before the trek home, character building I think they call that, and great fun.

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  6. I learned to swim at the Lochee Baths where I got my Scottish Swimmers badge for doing a width or something pathetic like that!

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  7. Starting off using white polystyrene floats!

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  8. Wonderful memories of these baths - learned to swim here in early 70s, while at primary school (Ann Street)...!

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  9. remember the verruca trough in the ladies pool, their pool was braw n warm compared to the ither anes

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  10. deservedly so too , so much fun , so much memories , superb ,

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  11. Hello, I stayed in the 80 s in Dundee with the twincity Würzburg. I am just serching some old "friends" like John and Rory Hewitt - both Dundee swimmers. Does anybody has some info about them?

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    1. I am married to Rory Hewitt. And I think you are meaning John Osborne. Rory still teaches swimming and John works at one of the high schools in Dundee.

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  12. I left Dundee in 1972, was always freezing after coming out of the baths,can remember having a 'shivery bite' (hot drink)after being in the pool, good memories though.

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  13. I remember going to the Lochee baths with the school. The gents toilet was just a urinal, the ones to the floor at the poolside and the water was freezing so you always had to go. WHen anyone needed to go, 3 or 4 of us would stand round them to stop the girls seeing anything - like they were really that bothered!

    I also vaguely remember going to the central baths and then going to see them after they were demolished - the pools were still in the ground - it looked really weird. They were fairly close to the inland lighthouse and the jif lemon tree next to the Tay Bridge IIRC.

    My wife and I went back to the Olympia pool when we first started seeing each other, we had a great time with the flumes, especially the one that dumped you about 5 feet above the pool. Afterwards, we went upstairs to the excuse of a cafe which still looked the same 20 years after it opened, still the same poor choice of mars bars, snickers and a couple of other things. Maybe it's changed in the last 15 years, I suspect not.

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  14. I went often in the late 1950s early 1960s. Prices were 5d and 10d. A great novelty and advance of technology was the drinks dispenser that appeared outside the front entrance latterly. The chicken soup was watery but piping hot and you know how keen that appetite was after swimming and then coming out into the bracing breeze right next to the Tay! Little things pleased us a lot.

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  15. My mum and I were wondering if anyone knew what height the diving boards were at the original baths? Many thanks!

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  16. I remember diving off the chairy. The top platform around 1957. Only did it once and never again. As a child, the turkish baths were like a fairy land with all the white curtains and palm trees around the pool.

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