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King Alfred Centre

Entrance to the swimming pool
Photo by Tony Mould
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Commissioned by the Royal Navy

The King Alfred Centre had an unexpected start to its life. Just as the original building was nearing completion in September 1939, the Second World War broke out and the building was handed over to the Royal Navy to be used as a training base, and was commissioned as ‘H.M.S. King Alfred’.

RNVR Officer training

During the war years 22,500 officers of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve were trained here. They came from all parts of the British Empire. The original pools were boarded over; one sports hall was used as a mess room and the other as a drill hall. The underground car park was used as the dormitory. After the war, the centre was decommissioned and handed back to the Borough Council for its intended use of a sports and swimming centre.

Cool refreshing water

There are lots of things I like about the King Alfred. I like the deep-end of the swimming pool, which is approximately 2.5-3.0 metres deep. I always love to dive or jump into the cool and refreshing water. I also like to swim lengths. Even though I’m 10 years old, I still enjoy the less than 8-year-old slide. You can’t be too careless – life guards are every where, and they’re watching. But my favourite part is the big slide; it’s massive and I go down it super fast.

Delicious food

I also like the café because the food is delicious and they even have a vend bar. Going to King Alfred is easy because you can get there by walking, bus or car, and it’s fun for all the family.

Comments about this page

  • I was a member of Shiverer’s swim club (1950/92). I remember Mitchigan University, Canada visiting us for swim/polo meets with a parade of flags at start and finish. Also a polo weekend with a team from p.s.v. Hinhoven Holland. It must have been about 1957 when our junior polo team won the national K.O. competition playing the final down at Cheltenham – Terry Long, Paul Blunt to name but two. Moved away (1960/70). No two son, Barry and Sandra were both good swimmers with county and national successes. The club had a good ‘Masters’ section with many county and national champs, even I was lucky getting a ‘bronze’ at the first “European Masters” to be held in England. Very, very happy memories of the K.A.

    By Ron Knight (01/03/2011)
  • A great friend of mine had kept all the paperwork from when PSV Eindhoven visited Shiverers. I still have the folder which I came across the other day. He was a member of the club for a very long time involved in swimming and polo. I myself have great memories of the KA and the Shiverers between 1990 to present.

    By Steve (02/10/2015)

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