The Watford Observer is again delighted to be teaming up with its friends at Watford Museum to take another journey back to the past to recall the key events and dates that helped shape the town’s future.

The 16th part of '50 events and dates that shaped Watford' looks back to the opening of the building where so many people learnt to swim - Watford Central Swimming Baths.

The museum's volunteer archivist Christine Orchard said: "Watford’s first purpose-built indoor swimming baths was opened in Hempstead Road in 1933. It was one of the first electrically heated swimming pools at that time. There were diving boards at different heights and changing cubicles alongside the pool. The pool had been constructed to replace the outdoor facility in the Colne next to the Five Arches.

Watford Observer:

Front elevations of the baths

"Not only was there a pool but also slipper baths which would have been a very valuable facility for those without a proper bathroom. I believe the water supply was controlled separately and you could shout out something like, “more hot water in number 3”.

Watford Observer:

The slipper baths pictured prior to the opening in 1933

"For many years the Central pool was the usual place where countless schoolchildren in the area were taken for swimming lessons. The pool closed in December 2006 so that the current leisure centre could be built."

Watford Museum is open Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. No booking is necessary but Covid prevention measures are still in place to keep visitors safe.