Pool opening made a splash

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LURGAN Swimming Pool made quite a splash when it opened in 1965.

Built at a cost of £170,000 it was doing a roaring trade since its unofficial opening.

Approximately 1,200 swimmers used it on opening day, at times the spectator gallery was full and workers in the cafeteria had scarcely a quiet moment.

Throughout the week the demand continued and pool employees were kept at full stretch.

Mr Frank Bradley, Superintendent, said: “Interest if anything has exceeded our expectations and we do not expect any falling off in attendances for at least four months.

“People have waited a long time for the pool and it would seem that they certainly intend making full use of it.”

However the opening hours were a cause for concern for some ratepayers.

The pool was open to the general public from 9am until 6pm on Saturdays and from noon until 2pm and 4pm to 8pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays.

A ladies only session on Tuesdays restricted the general opening hours to five hours, ending at 8pm.

Demand had been greatest in the evening but members of the public who went down after 7.10pm had little hope of a swim.

From 8pm until 10.15pm each week night the use of the pool was reserved for the 13 clubs which had been established locally in preparation for the big splash.

But many people in the town felt that those who cannot - or did not wish to - join a club had insufficient time to make use of the baths.

On businessman complained: “The hours of opening may suit those who finish work early and the unemployed but there are many ratepayers who, because of their jobs, would be unable to go down for a swim before 7.30pm or 8pm.

“Clubs have restricted membership and it seems wrong that they should enjoy the late night opening at the expense of the majority of townsfolk.

“Paying for the pool already through rates, I don’t feel inclined to stump up again to any club for the right to have a dip.”