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EMPIRE POOL, CARDIFF

Site Details


NPRN 3065

Map Reference ST17NE

Grid Reference ST18027600

Unitary (Local) Authority Cardiff

Old County Glamorgan

Community Castle (Cardiff)

Type of Site SWIMMING POOL

Broad Class Recreational

Period 20th Century

Site Description The Empire Pool was officially opened on 18 April 1958 by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, J. H. Morgan. Constructed, at a cost of £650,000, by Cardiff Corporation as their showpiece building for the VIth British Empire and Commonwealth Games hosted by the city in 1958. The site on Wood Street had been identified by city planners in the early 1930s as the location of a modern swimming baths to replace the mid-19th century Corporation Baths on Guildford Crescent but these ideas were not realised before the outbreak of war in 1939. Delays in funding meant that work on the Empire Pool did not begin until January 1956.

The long pool (originally 55 yards, later reduced to 50 metres) was flanked by tiered tip-up red and grey seats, with the diving boards at the north end. The capacity for 1772 spectators exceeded most covered entertainment venues of the time. Stairs at each end of the glazed foyer led to the first-floor changing rooms and the notable parquet-floored and chromium embellished second-floor cafe. A modern Turkish bath facility was also provided, as was an aerotone bath and hot showers.

In 1998, the Empire Pool was demolished as part of the construction work on the Millennium Stadium.

Daryl Leeworthy, RCAHMW, 17 October 2011.

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