Guernsey

Bid to restore Guernsey Bathing Pools at La Vallette

Gent's pool at the Bathing Pools, Guernsey
Image caption The gent's pool still shows signs of damage caused in the storms of February 2014

A group has formed with the aim of restoring the Guernsey Bathing Pools and the area at La Vallette.

The pools were heavily damaged in storms in February 2014 and the men's pool and horseshoe remain closed, with repairs expected to cost £200,000.

As well as repairing the pools the group wants to restore viewpoints and reopen the Victorian changing rooms.

The chairman of the Legacy Team Committee Pat Johnson said: "We'd like to put it back to its former glory."

He warned the area was "going to get ugly before it gets beautiful".

Image copyright Priaulx Library
Image caption The pools have hosted swimming galas and diving competitions and been used by schools for swimming lessons
Image caption Storm damage, including broken railings and missing stones, caused in February 2014 can still be seen at the gent's pool and the horseshoe
Image copyright Priaulx Library
Image caption The pools were built out of the sight of the public and "bathing without drawers" after 06:00 was "strictly prohibited"

Speaking about the cost, treasurer Andrew Pouteaux said: "We don't know, we've got our estimate... but in essence the more people turn out the more volunteers we get the less it costs.

"The swimming pools come at the end and that's the one with the big capital involvement... probably until next spring we won't see big improvements on the pools."

He said the group had formed because "if we don't get to grips with it we lose it".

The group said it has the support of two States departments - Environment and Culture and Leisure - the St Peter Port Douzaine, tourism and private sponsors.

Image caption The Ladies' and Children's pools were repaired and reopened to the public last summer
Image copyright Priaulx Library
Image caption The group wants to reinstate something similar to the raised gardens that used to be at La Vallette
Image caption The horseshow is not a tidal pool like the other three, but offered swimmers an easy access to the water

History of the Bathing Pools

  • Initially called Les Promenades des Terres the original idea was for the walkway to go further around the coast, but it was shortened over security concerns at Fort George
  • In 1844 the first plans were put forward to build bathing places to replace those due to be lost in the expansion of St Peter Port Harbour
  • In 1859 permission was given to make a promenade to Clarence Battery using infill from the harbour, with the work funded by public subscription, the parish and the Royal Court
  • The horseshoe bathing place was built in 1859, ladies' pool in 1870 and a separate gent's pool in 1876
  • In 1896 the children's pool was added to the ladies pool
  • High diving boards were set up at ladies' pool by the Guernsey Swimming Club in 1925
  • The ladies' pool was extended in 1964 and the high diving boards were removed in 1970
  • In 1977 a proposal put to the States recommended the gents and horseshoe pools be abandoned due to the cost of maintenance - but it was voted down
  • In 2011 the cliff above La Vallette had to be stabilised twice to minimise the risk of rock falls
  • Storm damage led to the closures of all of the pools in February 2014, with the ladies' and children's pools reopening in June and July respectively

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