The Pells Pool Opening

When you next dive into the Pells and complain about the cold, just be happy that this historic swimming pool is still there. In 1999 The Lewes District Council, sick of funding a money-losing operation, decided to convert it into a skateboard park. There was some uproar: however few people were regularly using the pool, anybody who grew up here had fond memories of endless sunny afternoons dive-bombing into the water as kids. A well-attended extra ordinary Town Meeting resulted in a petition with 4,000 names on it rejecting the closure. In 2001 the pool’s day-to-day maintenance was taken over by the Pells Pool Community Association, a registered charity mixing paid workers with volunteers: the pool’s future now looks secure.

Its past is long and glorious. When in the 1930’s the lido boom saw outdoor pools being built all over the UK, the Pells Pool was already 70-odd years old. Built in 1860, and now a Grade 2 listed building, The Pells is the oldest freshwater outdoor pool in the country, fed by a natural spring directly below. It was built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and given to the townspeople of Lewes alongside part of the adjacent park and the Pells Pond. The current pool, 40 metres by 20, is inside the shell of the original 1860 pool. It will be interesting to see how many people take a dip on the opening day this summer: the Countryside 7-day weather forecast promises rain, with average daytime temperatures of 12 degrees centigrade: the water temperature of the pool on Tuesday read around 14 degrees. Brrr. AL

Pells Pool: the (c)oldest in the country
Brook St, Lewes
When? Open daily 12noon-7pm
How Much? Adult £3.80 kids £2

Pells Pool
(w) Website