St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The Park St George's Park - The Pool
The Pool

On February 6, 1929, the Port Elizabeth City Council voted £10,000 for a swimming pool in St George's Park.There were objection to the placing of the pool in the park and it was several years before the position was finally conformed.Other sites that had been chosen by the public for the siting of the pool were: the wool market, Westborne Oval, old Gordon Bath, Havelock Square, the Donkin Reserve and the bottom of Albany Road.The pool was finally opened on November 12, 1937, when the Empire Games trials were held there.

The opening was also celebrated by the perfomance of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night Dream".

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The diving platform that was built for the Empire Games Trials which were held in Port Elizabeth in November 1937.
Situated in St George's Park, it was described as "one of the most modern and beautiful baths in South Africa" when it was built.

The complex, constructed in the form of a half-circle, had a unique setting, with the entrance and ticket office in the centre, from which the cafe and hall led off on either side, followed by the ladies' and gents' change cubicles, completing the half circle by joining onto the base, which was provided by the the grandstand and club rooms.

The enclosing walls are stuccoed and were originally painted a pale sea-green colour, except for the stand, which is a solid reinforced concrete structure capable of seating 1,080 people under a cantilever roof.

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The old concrete diving board, 1938.

The grounds were well laid out with beautiful and well-kept lawns, bordered with flowers and cement walks, where swimmers can sun-bathe or children play.

The tiled pool is 150 feet long by 50 feet wide, and originally had a depth of 15 feet at the deep end and 3 feet 6 inches at the shallow end.

The original diving boards were at heights of 1 metre, 3 metres and 10 metres.

At the shallow end of the pool is a children's pool with a depth ranging from 9 inches to 2 feet.

Click image to enlarge
St George's Park swimming pool, with the old diving board, shortly after it opened in 1937.

Originally there were steam baths underneath the grandstand which were devided into two sections, ladies and gents, with three steam baths, hot and cold showers, blitz or jet spray and hot slipper baths on either side.

There were six cubicles on each side for changing and in which there are bunks for resting. Three masseuses operated on the ladies side and four on the men's side.

Physical culture was given in these rooms either individual or in groups.


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