Swimming Bath

Plans for a bathing pool (as requested by Councillor Herbert Thompson) were drawn up in both 1900 and 1904 and the necessary funds set aside, but this pool was not built.

An open-air swimming bath was considered again in 1906, and the City Engineer drew up plans for a site near the mill stream in the northern-most field. This scheme involved a bath measuring 90 by 30 yards, 6 feet 6 inches at its greatest depth. It was proposed to take water from the mill stream, until the polluted nature of the stream forced that idea to be abandoned. An amended plan, for a much smaller bath, was put before the Parks Committee on October 22nd 1906. The estimated cost of this was £1,200 and was considered too high. The City Engineer was instructed to produce another alternative plan, but there were no further developments.

The question arose again in 1911 after an article in the Western Mail stated the need for a swimming bath on the western side of Cardiff. The Parks Committee instructed the City Engineer to prepare a plan for a such a bath, together with a children's paddling pool, in Llandaff Fields. The issue was then complicated when it was suggested that a swimming bath should be provided in Splott Park, and possibly in other districts, resulting in protracted debate about the most suitable site, and whether an open-air or covered bath was desirable. When a scheme was eventually put forward in July 1913, for an open-air bath in the north eastern corner of Llandaff Fields at a cost of £2,000, it was rejected by the Finance Committee.

Eventually an open-air swimming bath was provided at Llandaff Fields (and another at Splott Park) in the 1920s because public works were needed to provide employment. In September 1921 the Finance Committee approved a scheme for Llandaff Fields very similar to that first proposed in 1906, and estimated to cost £15,000. The design was later modified and a paddling pool added, but construction proceeded rapidly and by 15th June 1922 the padding pool was complete and the sides of the swimming pool were then being rendered. The fencing around the site and the grandstand were both under way. The bath was formally opened to the public on 28th June 1922 by the Lord Mayor, Councillor G. F. Turnbull J.P..[1][2] It was 30 yards wide and 70 yards long in total, 20 yards of which formed a paddling pool.[3] The paddling pool ranged from 6 inches to 2 feet deep whereas the depth of the swimming bath was 2 feet 6 inches to 6 feet 6 inches. The following year the Chairman of the Parks Committee, Mr R.G.H. Snook, in his speech for the opening of the concert pavilion, stated that Llandaff Fields had the best open-air bath in the country.[4]

The swimming bath immediately became very popular, especially with children, and in the 1930s were reported to be "packed to capacity" during the summer months. The entrance charge for youngsters was two old pence (2d) but school children could buy tickets for half a penny, or a weekly ticket for 3d.[5]

The swimming bath and paddling pool continued in regular use for more than 70 years. In 1994 they were closed and filled in having been deemed uneconomical. In 1998 in an article marking the Llandaff Fields centenary, the South Wales Echo observed:

With its use limited to only the hotest days of the year, and with the baths being in need of restoration, a decision was taken that money would be better spent on leisure centres which were used all year round. The site of the pool is now landscaped, and planted with native and ornamental trees.[5]

Sources of Information

In general, the information in this section is taken from A. A. Pettigrew, The Public Parks and Recreation Grounds of Cardiff, Volume 4

Other sources are:

  1. Meeting of the Parks Open Spaces and Burial Board Committee 17th July 1922
  2. South Wales Echo 2nd February 1998 page 12
  3. Meeting of the Parks Open Spaces and Burial Board Committee 28th September 1921
  4. Western Mail 24th April 1923 page 8
  5. South Wales Echo 2nd February 1998 page 12