Back in February 2002 a former resident of Watford Abbeyfield Society, the late John Gloag, wrote down his memories of early Watford before he died. In this he recalls Watford Baths.

In the early years of the 20th Century Watford boasted only one small swimming bath which was situated at the Five Arches, a railway viaduct which crosses the river Colne, and was reached by a footpath from Water Lane, or by crossing the railway footbridge in Derby Road into what was then a children's playground with swings and roundabouts. A short walk along the river bank would bring the intending swimmer to the entrance to the bath.
The bath itself was an extension of the river Colne, and the arch through which the river ran was partitioned off, and on the further side the river had been widened out to form a large square. Around this square, wooden changing cubicles were erected with a small gallery running along the top to accommodate spectators. The further side from the entrance was reached by a small footbridge over the river. Due to the flow of the river it was not possible to provide facilities such as heating and chlorination and the water was sometimes found to be rather less than clean by modern standards.
The attendant in those days was Mr Henry West, a well known Watford character, and this rather portly gentleman would arrive on his bicycle to admit the usual crowd of boys waiting patiently for their swim. Mixed bathing was not allowed in those days and separate sessions were arranged for male and female swimmers. This bath remained in use until the early 1930's when the modern pool was opened to the public in 1933. The old pool was then closed down, the partition under the bridge removed and the cubicles demolished.
The river bank was also restored to its original width from the large square and there is now little or no trace of the bath which gave Watford youngsters so much pleasure. The new bath in the town centre, when first opened, was equipped with a high diving board, spring board, and water chute, but experience proved that they were a danger to those swimming underneath at the deep end, and they were all eventually removed. When first opened, wooden cubicles were arranged along each side of the bath, but these were found to be somewhat cumbersome, and new dressing rooms were built each side.

November 16th & 17th 2019

Watford County Qualifier Open Meet

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2019 Results Here

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  Qualifying Times & Schedules 2020

Hertfordshire County Championships 2020

East Region 2019 Short Course Champs (25m)

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