Photos and articles about Brighton and Hove in the time of coronavirus. See our collection and add your own!

The major pool photographed c1950

Many memories

Since I posted a page back in 2004, about the King Alfred Centre there have been a great many memories posted about this wonderful place. There has also been a lot of debate regarding the depth and length of the ‘major’ pool. Many people expressed an interest to see a photograph of the interior of the pool area. I apologise for the quality of the image published here, but it is the only one I have. It would appear that among interested parties, the general consensus is that the major pool was 10ft at the deep end, and the overall length was 110yds

Do you have King Alfred Centre memories? Please share by posting a comment below.

The diving boards

I suggested there were four diving boards, which no one seems to have disputed; I was wrong, there were five as the photograph clearly shows. With regard to the height of the diving boards, I am not exactly sure. The two low spring boards were perhaps about 2′, the medium height static and spring boards I think 9′, and the top board 15′.  Whatever the answer, I think everyone agrees that the King Alfred gave many hours of enjoyment throughout the 1950/60/70s.

Inside the King Alfred Centre
From the private collection of Peter Groves

Comments about this page

  • What a wonderful picture Peter; this brings back many happy memories for me, it’s a place I went to regularly as a boy and taught myself to swim. My only regret, even to this day, is that I didn’t have the courage to dive from the top board! It was always a disappointment, to be told the large pool was closed and the only option was to use the small pool. My senior school, the Knoll School for Boys, held their annual swimming gala there too and we also went there on Mondays for swimming lessons. Thank you for posting the picture – wonderful! Best wishes

    By Michael Weller (15/04/2015)
  • The major pool was 33.3 meters long (3 lengths for 100 meter race). I seem to remember that the minor pool was 25 meters though it may have been 25 yards … memory’s gone…

    By Marc Turner (18/04/2015)
  • In the 1940s, Mum used to come from Eastbourne to train at this pool for swimming championships, including the Olympics. She told me it was built as an Olympic pool but that the tiles had not been accounted for in the measurements, so it was a fraction too small for Olympic swimming.

    By Renia (20/04/2015)
  • Hi Marc, I’m pretty sure you are wrong regarding 33.3 meters long, meters weren’t around (in the UK) at the time it was built (1938), and Europe was almost alien to us!  I thought it was 33.3 yards, with 3 lengths being 100 yards, but many others thought it was 36.66 yards with 3 lengths being 110 yards.

    By Peter Groves (20/04/2015)
  • Couple of points, when first built measurements were in yards not meters. Secondly I remember that in the winter the big pool was covered with a floor for dancing – we spent many a Saturday night dancing and using the bar that was at the front of the building, access only from inside. We went so regularly that we had a reserved table kept for us (there were 8 of us, that is 4 couples). It was a great place for an evening out.

    By Ken Ross (20/04/2015)
  • Just watched Sea Cities on Brighton (BBC2) and wondered what happened to the King Alfred Baths.  All these amazing comments brought back lots of memories.  I belonged to the swimming club, the Shiverers and used to train there every week and take part in galas in the mid to late 1950s.  I remember that it was quite a talking point that it was a sea water pool and the measurements were in yards.  Glad to know it still exists and has expanded.

    By Annabel Alcock (27/02/2018)
  • Large pool was 36 2/3rd yards x 15 yards wide and 10 ft deep at the diving end. Small pool 25 yards x 10 yards. I swam 13 widths in the large pool age 3 1/2 and competed there until I was 17 yrs old. Shiverers were a very strong club then with many top swimmers. I still have contact with a few these days. Good memories.

    By Ron Reeves (14/02/2020)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *