Chester City Baths in bid to open Pacific Pool

Nov 18, 2022 | Recent Highlights, Thank You Letters

Chester City Baths has been teaching Chester to swim since 1901. Run by Chester Swimming Association since 1977, it was not immune to the ravages of the pandemic with closure, economy measures to stay afloat and resulting damage to one of the two pools using for teaching and leisure. The Ursula Keyes Trust heard about their financial issues as a result and was keen to support this Chester treasure reopen fully.

The Pacific pool, one of the baths’ two pools, has been closed since the Covid-19 pandemic struck which forced, apart from a 2-week spell, Chester City Bath’s closure until April 2021. Following the best advice available, both pools were drained to save money. However, while the Atlantic pool was fine, the Pacific pool developed serious cracks in its Victorian tiles rendering it inoperable and needing funding fast if the pool was to ever reopen.

The Baths are run by a team of committed volunteers and trustees. It is normally used by more than 800 children learning to swim per week and over 300 adult paying members at swimming sessions open to the public. Obviously this was limited by the Pacific Pool’s closure.

Trevor Warner, company secretary and trustee at Chester City Baths, said: “Cheshire West and Chester Council really helped us with structural surveys, assessing the damage and considering the way forward involving conservation. But we needed additional funding for the new tiles and their fitting, an estimated £73,000 in total. So far we have raised £68,000 allowing us to go ahead to try to finish the pool. and are still looking for the final £5000.”

“In January the Council helped us strip out and reclaim tiles we could reuse and we ordered £40,000 of special tiles on a 5 month delivery time which arrived in May. Since then further fundraising means we can go ahead with the work to install the tiles which should be complete in October. Each special tile costs 144 pounds and needs expensive sealant and special skills.”

“Back in what used to be the gymnasium we found an old plaque commemorating the restoration work completed in 1995 and mentioning the Ursula Keyes Trust, top of the list of donors.”

John Brimelow, a Trustee of the Ursula Keyes Trust, one of the several supporting charities, added; “This is an important way the Ursula Keyes Trust can make a difference to the community and quality of life in the City. The Baths are something we should preserve generation to generation and ensure the future of this healthy way of keeping fit for all. We are proud to be able to support this project.”

Trevor Warner summarised; “We don’t want to make huge profits and now have huge increased, heating costs to pay – we just want to keep this amazing heritage space open and being used by all. It is too important and unique to Chester. Thank you to the Ursula Keyes Trust and all the other donors and fundraisers who have helped us so far.”