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Taking the plunge at St Matthew’s Baths in the 1960s, 70s and 80s in Days Gone By

PUBLISHED: 07:30 21 October 2020

Did you take part in life-saving classes at St Matthew's Baths in Ipswich in 1976? Picture: ARCHANT

Did you take part in life-saving classes at St Matthew's Baths in Ipswich in 1976? Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Do you remember swimming at St Matthew’s Baths? Today we are looking back to when the pool was a popular meeting place in Ipswich town centre.

St Matthew's Baths swimming team, Ipswich, in November 1976 Picture: ARCHANTSt Matthew's Baths swimming team, Ipswich, in November 1976 Picture: ARCHANT

The baths in Civic Drive opened in 1924. The Ipswich Society has recalled how the building originally included not only a pool, complete with spectators’ balcony, but also 21 slipper baths, ideal when many households didn’t have their own bathrooms.

A toddlers' swimming lesson at St Matthew's Baths, Ipswich, in September 1981 Picture: IVAN SMITH/ARCHANTA toddlers' swimming lesson at St Matthew's Baths, Ipswich, in September 1981 Picture: IVAN SMITH/ARCHANT

Our photos show various swimming events held at St Matthew’s in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

A police swimming gala at St Matthew's Baths in Ipswich in July 1963 Picture: ARCHANTA police swimming gala at St Matthew's Baths in Ipswich in July 1963 Picture: ARCHANT

MORE: Memories of swimming galas and fun in Suffolk

The gallery includes memories of toddlers’ swimming lessons, life-saving classes and the annual police swimming gala in the 1960s.

Swiming at St Matthews Baths in the 1960s Picture: DAVID KINDRED/ARCHANTSwiming at St Matthews Baths in the 1960s Picture: DAVID KINDRED/ARCHANT

Of course, for many years St Matthew’s was also known for the baths hall, when the pool was covered over with a floor and a wide range of concerts and events were held there. We will soon be featuring the hall’s heyday in another nostalgia feature.

Toddlers' swimming lessons at St Matthew's Baths, Ipswich, in September 1981 Picture: IVAN SMITH/ARCHANTToddlers' swimming lessons at St Matthew's Baths, Ipswich, in September 1981 Picture: IVAN SMITH/ARCHANT

MORE: Memories of Ipswich’s Broomhill and Fore Street pools

For the last 10 years, the building has been operating as The Gym Ipswich, but operator Abbeycroft Leisure decided not to reopen after lockdown and it officially closed in June.

The annual Ipswich Police swimming gala at St Matthew's Baths, Ipswich, in August 1967 Picture: ARCHANTThe annual Ipswich Police swimming gala at St Matthew's Baths, Ipswich, in August 1967 Picture: ARCHANT

What are your memories of St Matthew’s Baths? Email judy.rimmer@archant.co.uk or write to Judy Rimmer, Newsroom, 120 Princes Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 1RS.

St Matthew's Baths, Ipswich in November 1977 Picture: RICHARD SNASDELL/ARCHANTSt Matthew's Baths, Ipswich in November 1977 Picture: RICHARD SNASDELL/ARCHANT

Order photos on our website or call Diane Townsend on 01603 772449.


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