Opening ceremony of the S.S. Brighton

Souvenir Brochure, opening of the Swimming Stadium, Brighton, 1934
Image scanned from the collection of Trevor Chepstow, Sports Stadium Brighton Archive

The launching ceremony of the S.S. Brighton was performed on June 29th, 1934, at 2.45 p.m., by Commodore The Right Honourable The Earl Howe, CBE, VD, RNVR. He was accompanied by the Mayor of Brighton, Councillor Miss Margaret Hardy. Only that morning she had been to Brighton station to rename the famous Southern Belle express as the Brighton Belle. She stated that she hoped the new enterprise would bring prosperity to the town.

Two thousand people and celebrities attended the opening ceremony. The programme contained various displays of swimming and diving, performed by the Shiverers Swimming Club. The Military Band provided the music (they were boys from the Mile Oak School, by kind permission of the Headmaster, Mr A. D. Beale). The opening display show involved the boys marching around the pool in military fashion. All the pool attendants supervised, each of them individually dressed in smart naval attire. The gentlemen were dressed in naval blazers and white trousers, and the ladies were in white pleated skirts and blazers. All proudly wore a naval cap.

Aquatic displays
The final display culminated in free-for-all dives into the pool by the lads. A giant rubber ball was anchored in the middle of the pool swathed with climbing ropes. Needless to say, this proved to one of the highlights for the boys. The next spectacle involved a swimmer towing a ten-foot replica of the “Queen Mary” the full length of the pool, to great applause by the audience. In the final part of the programme, it was left to Earl Howe to declare the pool open to the general public.

A lavish luncheon
At the end of the inaugural ceremony, the dignitaries were entertained to a lavish luncheon in the “Silver Grill” restaurant, on the first floor over looking the pool. The luncheon consisted of Smoked Scotch Salmon to start, followed by Marmite Bourgoise. The main course of Primeurs Best End of Lamb Richelieu was accompanied by Potatoes Chateaux, Sautés French Beans and Mixed Salad. Finally, the guests had Apricots Melba and Petits Fours. The entire meal came with a selection of fine wines, and was supervised by the ever-watchful restaurant manager, Mr L. Novelli.

Comments about this page

  • Can anyone tell me if the headmaster of Mile Oak School, as mentioned in this text, was the same Mr Beale who was headmaster when I first went there in 1952. A time span of 18 years. Possible, I supppose.

    By John Upton (13/03/2012)

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