ONE of the focal points of the Peak District summer – Hathersage open-air pool – is finally due to open on Saturday after a delay resulting from refurbishment.
It usually opens for the new season at the end of March but the 33-yard swimming pool has been spruced up to ensure its reaches its 75th anniversary in July and to guarantee its long-term future.
Now staff are preparing to welcome the first customers of the year at 8am on Saturday. There’s usually a queue on the first day, even in March, although numbers are invariably influenced by the weather.
To compensate for the late opening, the season is being extended by a couple of weeks into October.
Work on relining the pool cannot be carried out during cold weather, so it was done during the low season.
Hathersage Parish Council, which owns and manages the site, pulled together the £80,000 for the project, which is being seen as the first phase of a programme that will eventually see the pool plant and filtration units being replaced.
The pool, which is heated to 28°C/82°F, attracted more than 36,000 customers last year.
It opened in 1936 as a part of the King George V Memorial Field which included tennis courts, a bandstand, playing field, a sand pit and a paddling pool, financed thanks to a donation from Sheffield razor blade manufacturer George Herbert Lawrence. He and his wife, Elsie, attended the official opening by Sir Charles Clegg on July 25,1936.
Lawrence was killed in the Sheffield Blitz after he left his Hathersage home to take food and drink to his workers at the Laurel razor blade factory.
The pool basin was retiled about 40 years ago but every winter the frost takes its toll.
Following the refurbishment, preparations are being made for celebrations of the 75th anniversary in July.