Author Topic: Leisure centre open!  (Read 9444 times)

mike

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Leisure centre open!
« on: March 18, 2007, 03:13:31 PM »
At long last, after several delays, and a totally unacceptable length of time (10 years) with no pool, library or decent community facilities on the estate, the new leisure centre has opened - 12 March 2007 (my birthday, coincidentally enough)

I've not been up to see it yet, but my wife and youngest daughter popped up yesterday, and it looks pretty good, although the prices are a bit of a rip off compared to what it used to cost for a swim!

Website here: www.new-in-downham.co.uk


Brenda

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Re: Leisure centre open!
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2007, 09:31:09 PM »
Ooh, must say, I preferred the look of  the old red brick dinosaur of the old days.  Ah well, I hope present day Downhamites get as much pleasure from the new place as I did from the old.   What are the charges, Mike?  If I remember rightly, we used to pay 6d for a swim when I was a kid.

Belated happy birthday to you.

Bren

Pauline

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Re: Leisure centre open!
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2007, 02:03:22 AM »
Ooh, must say, I preferred the look of  the old red brick dinosaur of the old days.  Ah well, I hope present day Downhamites get as much pleasure from the new place as I did from the old.   What are the charges, Mike?  If I remember rightly, we used to pay 6d for a swim when I was a kid.

Belated happy birthday to you.

Bren

Let's hope the change rooms are better.  I recall the cubicles were so small, the floors all wet, and the wind would race through there with a wind chill factor of minus 20.  The pool itself was freezing. I hated swimming there.  But Churchdown School insisted you went swimming, and you had to have a darn good reason not to.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2007, 05:50:59 AM by Pauline »
Born 1944 in Geraint Road.  Launcelot and Churchdown Schools.  Moved to Western Australia in 1988.
Two children, 6 grandchildren, 3 dogs, hundreds of snakes, spiders and lizards.

JSmith

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Re: Leisure centre open!
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2007, 02:29:01 AM »
Ooh, must say, I preferred the look of  the old red brick dinosaur of the old days.  Ah well, I hope present day Downhamites get as much pleasure from the new place as I did from the old.   What are the charges, Mike?  If I remember rightly, we used to pay 6d for a swim when I was a kid.

Belated happy birthday to you.

Bren

Let's hope the change rooms are better.  I recall the cubicles were so small, the floors all wet, and the wind would race through there with a wind chill factor of minus 20.  The poo itself was freezing. I hated swimming there.  But Churchdown School insisted you went swimming, and you had to have a darn good reason not to.


Yes Happy Birthday Mike.  The old Downham Baths as we called them with it's little cafe and all those wooden seats along side the pool, and those freezing cold dressing rooms, that was done for the purpose Pauline, to get warm you had to dry and get dressed fast, so as you didn't loiter. Great fun, we used to walk up there from Downham Central, it was bloody cold walking over Durham hill on the way back. Loved swimming there, really enjoyed going. Smiffy
Born 1945 Churchdown road.

     You can take the Boy out of Downham,but you cant take Downham out of the Boy.

Pauline

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Re: Leisure centre open!
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2007, 05:57:41 AM »

Yes Happy Birthday Mike.  The old Downham Baths as we called them with it's little cafe and all those wooden seats along side the pool, and those freezing cold dressing rooms, that was done for the purpose Pauline, to get warm you had to dry and get dressed fast, so as you didn't loiter. Great fun, we used to walk up there from Downham Central, it was bloody cold walking over Durham hill on the way back. Loved swimming there, really enjoyed going. Smiffy


We would walk, and if we were lucky we would meet the Bakers Van on the way back and get ourselves a donut each.  Heaven help us if Mrs Gatehouse had seen us with our uniforms on eating a donut, she would have had a cardiac arrest!
Born 1944 in Geraint Road.  Launcelot and Churchdown Schools.  Moved to Western Australia in 1988.
Two children, 6 grandchildren, 3 dogs, hundreds of snakes, spiders and lizards.

Brenda

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Re: Leisure centre open!
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2007, 08:54:11 AM »
Yes, and Miss Farley would whisk back the curtains of the cubicles if she thought anyone was taking too long to get dressed.  And of course, it was always hard to get dry, wasn't it? 

Bren

Pauline

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Re: Leisure centre open!
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2007, 12:54:12 AM »
Yes, and Miss Farley would whisk back the curtains of the cubicles if she thought anyone was taking too long to get dressed.  And of course, it was always hard to get dry, wasn't it? 

Bren

The trouble was we had to go 2 to a cubicle, and I ALWAYS dropped my knickers on the floor, and had to wear sodden knickers all day! (Ok guys settle down)
Oh! Such joyous memories!
Where you there the day 'someone' scratched THE piano? I though Mrs Gatehouse was going to cry!
Born 1944 in Geraint Road.  Launcelot and Churchdown Schools.  Moved to Western Australia in 1988.
Two children, 6 grandchildren, 3 dogs, hundreds of snakes, spiders and lizards.

Brenda

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Re: Leisure centre open!
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2007, 07:45:45 AM »
Pauline, re: the sodden knickers - can you hear me chuckling?  I was always so afraid of being exposed in the nuddy that I never dried myself properly and although my knickers weren't exactly sodden, they were certainly very uncomfortable for the rest of the day.  Thanks for reviving the memories!

No, I don't remember the scratched piano.  What a trauma it must have been for the whole school.  Was the culprit ever found, I wonder.

Bren

christine

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Re: Leisure centre open!
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2007, 01:22:22 PM »
Hey girls - this talk about the old Downham Baths is freaking me out.  This is the place where Miss Farley tried to turn me into a mermaid and all she succeeded in doing was putting me off swimming for life after almost drowning (so I thought at the time) in the shallow end!  As for the changing rooms - all I can remember was the fear of picking up a veruca (something nasty according to mum who hadn't explained what they were but where they lurked) and the nasty plasters that seemed to be drowning in all the water.  Now, of course, since having children of my own I know what they are!!  Still it was a grand old building in its time. Tell me does Churchdown Girls School still look the same or has that been pulled down and replaced by an all singing all dancing Academy?  Where I live apparently there was once a very nice lido which was enjoyed by all during the summer, this was subsequently covered to become an all seasons swimming pool and, in recent years, has been demolished to make way for what is the biggest leisure centre in the area.  It is one of the ugliest buildings in the area and would look better sitting at Gatwick Airport as an aircraft hanger!  The longer serving members of the community still remember the original lido with affection - it certainly would have been very popular during the last few summers.

Such is progress...........
Christine

Brenda

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Re: Leisure centre open!
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2007, 04:48:04 AM »
Oh gosh, yes - the fear of catching a verruca.  What a hoot! And it seems Miss Farley has a lot to answer for as far as her old students were concerned.  I was as good at swimming as I was jumping over the wooden horse: in other words - hopeless.  I remember when she made me compete in a class race of backstroke.  Of course, instead of keeping between the ropes, I managed to veer off and make life hard for the girl in the next lane.  It seemed to me to be such a useless exercise that I swam to the side and got out.  Not good sportsmanship, I suppose, but it seemed the sensible thing to do at the time.

Judging by their lack of comments re: school swimming lessons, it seems the lads didn't suffer quite as much as the girls did!

Chris, if you look at the aerial photos Mike has put on the site, you will see the old school looks pretty much the same. 

Bren

Pauline

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Re: Leisure centre open!
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2007, 05:26:27 AM »
Hey girls - this talk about the old Downham Baths is freaking me out.  This is the place where Miss Farley tried to turn me into a mermaid and all she succeeded in doing was putting me off swimming for life after almost drowning (so I thought at the time) in the shallow end!  As for the changing rooms - all I can remember was the fear of picking up a veruca (something nasty according to mum who hadn't explained what they were but where they lurked) and the nasty plasters that seemed to be drowning in all the water.  Now, of course, since having children of my own I know what they are!!  Still it was a grand old building in its time. Tell me does Churchdown Girls School still look the same or has that been pulled down and replaced by an all singing all dancing Academy?  Where I live apparently there was once a very nice lido which was enjoyed by all during the summer, this was subsequently covered to become an all seasons swimming pool and, in recent years, has been demolished to make way for what is the biggest leisure centre in the area.  It is one of the ugliest buildings in the area and would look better sitting at Gatwick Airport as an aircraft hanger!  The longer serving members of the community still remember the original lido with affection - it certainly would have been very popular during the last few summers.

Such is progress...........
Christine

Where are you living now Chris?
We certainly had a dearth of swimming pools in the area.  I recall Downham was closed for some time due to the Polio scare.
Bellingham got too noisy and crowded.  We would go to one out Sevenoaks way, an outdoor pool, something Manor it was called, that was nice.  I remember getting beautifully sunburnt there one day.
Now, of course, most of us in Perth have a pool of our own, it comes part of the package.  My grandchildren were in it from day one, which probably explains why Australians win all the medals at swimming.  My 4 year old grandson jumps straight in no problems, the 2 year old is still a bit dubious, but next summer there will be no stopping him.

I also remember the library - what a lovely building that was - is that part of the centre?  It's such a pity they couldn't keep the facade, and change the interior, it was always how a library should look, all that marble and separate rooms.
I work in a University library here in Perth - 7 floors.  Lots of students (25,000 on campus) it's mainly a new modern building, lots of glass and technology.
Born 1944 in Geraint Road.  Launcelot and Churchdown Schools.  Moved to Western Australia in 1988.
Two children, 6 grandchildren, 3 dogs, hundreds of snakes, spiders and lizards.

christine

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Re: Leisure centre open!
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2007, 04:35:05 PM »
Pauline - Hi.  I live in Horsham, West Sussex about a 20 minute drive from Gatwick Airport.  Horsham used to be a small market town (a real market town that is where animals were traded) but has been seriously developed over the past 20 years and is home to the likes of Royal & SunAlliance and Novartis Pharmaceuticals.  Funnily enough I believe that Bren lives near to another Horsham in her part of Oz.
Chris

Graham

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Wright family
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2007, 05:05:03 AM »
Hi Christine,

Was the  " Findmypast" website of use to you in finding lost relatives ?

A note of coincidence...I was born in Abbotsleigh House, a Nursing Home in Southwater near Horsham. It was alongside a railway line that no longer exists as does the Nursing Home; I am told.

I have seen photographs of the area and see that it is very beautiful but no longer a small rural area. After forty- one years in Canada, I must get back to see it one day.

Regards,    Graham A.
Graham A

Pauline

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Re: Leisure centre open!
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2007, 07:12:40 AM »
Oh gosh, yes - the fear of catching a verruca. 



Bren

I never got a verruca - should I feel deprived?
I remember not having any siblings at school (my sister was 10 years older than me) so I never got cheap dinners (not lunches, in those days we had dinner and tea).  I felt deprived then also.
Born 1944 in Geraint Road.  Launcelot and Churchdown Schools.  Moved to Western Australia in 1988.
Two children, 6 grandchildren, 3 dogs, hundreds of snakes, spiders and lizards.

christine

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Re: Leisure centre open!
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2007, 11:57:35 AM »
Graham - Hi
Thank you for aiming your reply to me but actually it was Amanda who was looking for a relative.  Hopefully she has been able to get further in her search - any news yet Amanda?  I have though recently thought about tracking down ancestors (like a lot of people nowadays - probably something to do with all the TV programmes on the subject) and it would probably be an interesting project but as my father was the last surviving child in a family of thirteen it did seem a bit daunting!  I know that my maternal grandmother had sisters who went to Australia and Canada at the turn of the last century but unfortunately I do not know their maiden names so cannot check on the boat lists that are now published. 

You are right - the railway line does not pass through Southwater anymore but the track is preserved for walkers and a brilliant walk it is too.  We park the car at Copsale and can walk in either direction - either towards Southwater or in the opposite direction towards West Grinstead.  In fact we did the West Grinstead walk a few weeks ago on the most beautiful sunny, crisp, day.  Fortunately there is a pub by the car park which adds to the attraction!!  There is now a state of the art doctors surgery/clinic probably at the point where the nursing home used to be.  I don't think anyone who was in Southwater at the time you were talking of would recognise it - it has grown considerably as, of course, has everything here.  Lucky you to be living in one country that hopefully one day I might do a long flight for - my dream is to take the snow train through the rockies - go on, tell me you have done it!
Regards
Chris