A high water mark for diving board in Swindon reservoir

By Swindon Link - 7 April 2015


The disused diving platform at Coate Water has been officially recognised by English Heritage, which has given the structure a Grade II Listing.

coate water diving platform by baz jonesIt is described as ‘a good example of a 1930s re-enforced concrete diving platform by JBL Thompson, a local architect, of an elegant, cantilevered design, constructed to the latest technical innovations to achieve an optimal diving performance.’

It is one of four diving platforms  given special protection, with extra historical interest  because of its lake location rather than a swimming pool.

Evocative reflection at Coate Water by Baz Jones

The Swindon platform replaced a rickety wooden platform and was unveiled on a very hot Saturday 22 June 1935 when local diver Cicely Cousins performed a 10 metre swallow dive. She went on to become a national champion by the end of the year.

To find some relief from the heat some 3,000 people paid for admission to Coate Water the following day.

Coate Water was originally created to store water for the Wilts & Berks Canal in the early 1800s and became a leisure destination after the canals fell into disuse in the early 20th Century.

The platform fell into disuse just 23 years later in 1958, when the public were banned from swimming at Coate Water because of health and safety concerns.

The listing is a triumph for North Swindon resident Sophie Hart who led a campaign for recognition for the platform via Facebook - The Diving Board at Coate Water.

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