Back when Ipswich was a two lido town

STAR IP WEST
26/11/11
Old photo of Broomhill Lido in it's heyday .

STAR IP WEST 26/11/11 Old photo of Broomhill Lido in it's heyday .

Lynne rewinds to the late 1960s, when Ipswich knew how to keep cool in hot weather

So where does Ipswich go to keep cool in 2013?

For the first time in 20 years, I went on to a children’s playground... now I am a grandmother, I can do that. I took baby George to the play area on Christchurch Park but he was not terribly interested in the swings, unless you count fastening his gums around the rubberised restraint as he gently swayed to and fro.

As a girl, I used to go on the rec in Robin Drive and can remember trying to swing so high that I went over the top but I never managed it; just as well as I probably wouldn’t be the possessor of all my own teeth.

There always used to be a queue for the swings. On Holywells Park as a “bit of a madam” aged six, I would instruct other swingers to dismount because my uncle was the park keeper – the absolute truth. But then one of the other kids would counter with: “So what, my dad’s a policeman,” which trumped park keeper so I just had to wait my turn.

My uncle and aunt lived in a small cottage at the lower gate of the park on Bishop’s Hill. It has since been replaced by a block of flats.

Uncle would take me round the park and tell me the names of the water fowl; not the species, the names. The most famous was Nelson, the one-eyed swan who had been half blinded by a stone, flung by some heartless human miscreant. Nelson, not surprisingly, would hiss if you went too near.

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The other great thing about Holywells Park was the paddling pool. It wasn’t as exciting as the one on Bourne Park which had an island in the middle but it was bliss on a summer’s day.

Those who had outgrown paddling pools had access to the lidos. I was once taken to Piper’s Vale before it was closed. Demolished in 1979 to make way for the temporary road access for building the Orwell Bridge, it had been down by the river, accessed via The Lairs, off Landseer Road. Then there was Broom Hill pool, which seemed to me to contain the coldest water in the known world and yet we would queue down Sherrington Road to get in. On a really hot day, when I and hundreds of other teenagers stretched out like basking seals on its white terraces, we would wait until we were unbearably hot before heading for the pool. Even then it would take courage and up to five minutes to fully immerse oneself.

There were always the hardy souls who would enter the water via the top board. They would shout to each other, presumably to make sure all the girls were watching.

There was also a children’s pool, however, and this was the one I tended to use because it was so much warmer and it meant I could keep my glasses on.

Yes, I was a total wimp, even then.