In the swim

Here’s one I suspect may trigger a few memories. Unearthed by the young David Evans, it’s an image of Walsall Wood Primary School’s swimming pool, which I think is long demolished. I’m not familiar with it myself, but it seems a lot like one Millfield had – and may still do.

I expect a few readers will have memories of this pool or others like it. A common design, they were built on the surface from four lined, waterproofed walls. I believe they feel out of favour due to health and safety concerns.

David wrote:

Hi Bob

In the course of a conversation, cup of tea and a chat this afternoon, I was delighted to learn of the existence of the swimming pool at Waslall Wood School, which I hadn’t known about previously.

I understand that it was built inside one of the pre-fab classrooms at Walsall Wood Primary School and opened in 1968, snd that the money to build this was raised by the local Primary Schools’ Parents Associations. A real community effort, in fact.

I wonder if there are blog readers who may remember learning to swim in this trainer pool, and perhaps may have been involved in the fund-raising activities to provide this much-used and valued facility.

I would like to thank Mrs Pat Lynk for allowing me to scan this photopraph in her family photo album.

kind regards


So, what do you know? Comment here, or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!

Walsall Wood Primary School swimming pool opening 1968 – are you one of these children, or do you know who they are? Do you remember the pool or building? Image generously supplied by Pat Lynk and sent in by David Evans.

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60 Responses to In the swim

  1. Nick Elliott says:

    Oh wow….This was a blast from the past.! I lived in Shelfield and went to Shelfield Primary School then (Coalheath Lane) . We used to get ‘bus’ed’ up to Walsall Wood School for swimming lessons.

    • Jane Booth says:

      I too went to Coalheath Lane and learnt to swim in this pool

    • Suzanne Westwood says:

      I went to Walsall wood school, I attended the school ehen the swimming pool opened.
      I learntvto swim in that pool.The boy furthest away..looks like Martin Archer..Many happy memories at that svhool

  2. Peter Barker says:

    I learnt to flounder and splutter in one like this, in a pre-fab building on Sandbank, Bloxwich.

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  4. Rob Sollom says:

    As a pupil of St Johns School, (just dismantled), I and many amny others collected milk bottle tops, old news papers and the like to help pay for this pool. I later learnt to swim in it.
    As an addition the little girl on the right is Mrs Jeanette Page. At the time of this picture her name was Riley. Her Grandma kept the little shop the other side of Clayhanger Road from the Wheel pub. I met her when we both moved up to Shire Oak and became classmates. She still lives in Brownhilss I believe.

    • Rob Bird says:

      I remember Mrs Riley. I was born in a house just opposite Cunnington’s. The house was demolished to widen the road.

  5. mrdoops says:

    I remember learning to swim there whilst I was at Leighswood.

  6. Caz says:

    I remember actually being taught in the pre fab classroom that became the swimming pool.i think the teachers name was Mr Capper and he was lovely. i left in 1967 and can vaguely remember raising funds for it to be built. My own son had lessons in there about 1985/6 and he was terrified. As parents we had to go in and undress our youngsters,but because it was raised off the ground you could see how deep it was, and to a 4yr old probably quite scarey, so it was a battle getting him in there.

  7. Clive says:

    Hello Caz, i remember Mr. Capper, he introduced us to books. The one book i remember was; Animal farm, and there was another one about a couple of Polish kids escaping from Poland in a canoe, can`t remember the title though. Nice bloke, great teacher.

  8. Ah, i learned to swim in that swimming pool……by Mrs Humpage the swimming teacher. Happy Memories… If i close my eyes i can remember the smell of the chlorine in the pool… Great photo, thanks for sharing and bringing back the memories….x

  9. Maria Hughes says:

    Where about in the school grounds was this pool?

  10. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    it was in one of the prefab the infants school( now th youth club)..Its now a green play area, You can see this area from the Oak Park car park..

  11. Glenn Curley says:

    Crikey, I remember this. I learnt to swim in that pool too. 1970-1975.

    The changing rooms had wooden benches, one fell over and cut my foot I seem to remember. Blood everywhere!

  12. Janice mason says:

    I remember it well Mr Allan tought me to swim there by letting air out my arm bands

  13. Heidi hartshorne says:

    I often bring this swimming pool up in conversation and remember how you had to walk through a foot bath first by the showers for hygiene! I still see my swimming teacher around who used to walk around the pool while we were swimming … Great times x

  14. says:

    I too attended this school and remember the pool. I had lessons in it. The other girls name I believe was Elaine Holiman.

  15. Rob Stokes says:

    I remember this pool well… it was the pre fab next to the dinning hall (also a prefab) … always remember picking up the rubber brick and earning various colour badges .

  16. As Robert Sollom has said in an earlier post I am the little girl in the white cardigan at the front of the pic the other 2 people are David Lynk and Elaine Holyman. Not sure what has happened to them now I lost touch after leaving school

  17. Ron Badkin says:

    How did anyone really learn to swim in this pool? My knees and feet used to hit the bottom it was so shallow! Not sure exactly which year(s) I swam there but it must have been just after it opened as I was a pupil at Castlefort School between 1963 and 1970

    • Philip Norwood says:

      Hi Rob we’re did you live, I went to castlefort the same time. I got my red badge at that pool 😂🤣

  18. Kate says:

    Surprised by the first comment as I went to St Francis in Shelfield and went to Coalheath Lane for swimming. Maybe the pool came along after Nick was there? And yes, i suppose it was shallow and a bit crap. It was of its time though, and thousands of kids learned how to swim there.

  19. PorkTorta says:

    i learned to swim in this very pool! We used to walk up from St John’s, with our trunks and towels in Sportpax bags…. When we’d proven able to not drown, and get our blue, green and red swimming badges, it was off to Oak Park to do our lifesaving badges. So much fun in this little pool! I still remember that the central heating in the changing rooms made the pipes BLISTERINGLY hot. Not ace for a bare bum to bump against, but brill for keeping your towel warm!

  20. Fay Keay says:

    That’s where i learnt to swim went there from castlefort jmi and shire oak until they started using oak park when they closed down the one at walsall wood school . It was always a lot warmer than oak park .

  21. Fran Trawford says:

    I started teaching at Walsall Wood in 1971 and I remember many happy times working alongside Jane Humpage teaching children aged between 4 and 7 to swim. It was so exciting to see such young children gain confidence to take their feet off the bottom and swim those first strokes.

    • Ian Reeves says:

      Oh my God, this brings back so many fantastic memories!!! From the whip crack of our great swimming teacher Mrs Humpage (not sure of spelling) to the bobbing mushrooms games in the water. From the elation of getting our swimming badges, to the slight embarrassment of being towel dried by moms of friends who volunteered at the pool. I still swim competitively today, some 40 years on, both my brothers, Alan and Martin are excellent swimmers and this is due to the great early start we had, when learning to swim at this pool…. Wonderful, wonderful memories.

      • susan cawley says:

        AWW – I’m going to pass this on to my Mom – Mrs Humpage!!! She still swims a few times a week! So so proud she taught so many children to swim.

        • Ian Reeves says:

          Please do Susan, we looked forward so much to our swimming lessons, you’re mum was fantastic xx

        • Angela Brown says:

          Hi,your mum used to give me and another girl extra lessons instead of maths as we both swam like bricks lol…got there in the end,I can still hear your mom shouting ‘keep kicking those feet’ lol send my best to her xx

    • Ian Reeves says:

      Hi Fran, I remember you teaching us, I think you may have been Mrs Jackaman to us? Wonderful times and very fond memories x

    • Rob Bird says:

      I was a pupil there – left in 1974. I think you knew my mother Gwen Bird (Phillips).

  22. I was at Streets Corner (Walsall Wood Primary) from 1973-1976 and remember this pool well. I moved to Watling Street School in 1976 and remember being bussed there for lessons. Remember nothing about the swimming lessons, just the pool itself. I loved it, but even then I remember thinking it was a bit ‘basic’. Oak Park was like swimming in an Olympic pool in comparison.

  23. leonard stretton says:

    Hi bob I remember this pool well , used to swim in there regular as a former pupil at streets corner school. Mr wroath was head master at the time . we had some good times inthat pool .if I remember right it was mrs foxes old classroom .

    • Suzanne Westwwood says:

      Well what a blast from the past I remember Mr Wroath and Miss Fox, I remember we were eagerly awaiting the pool to open. What a lovely photo of that pool.

  24. Sue Cawley says:

    My Mom is Jane Humpage – she was the swimming teacher at this pool. She’s now 77 and still swims regularly!!

  25. beat the bully says:

    I went to Walsall wood school and learnt to drown in that pool. I still have my certificate from around 1980. I remember how my so called best mates used to give me cruel names which stuck with me for the next 30+ years. I also remember two of the teachers (married but not to each other) having an affair, sitting on each others laps and kissing openly in front of us. We were told to be quiet when we caught them in more tricky situations. Filth. When I got to Shire Oak, I became the school punch bag. I refused to let them beat me! Payback will be an unusual one!

  26. Wow, takes me back to a distant memory. I used to walk there from St. Johns – have a few other Facebook friends who walked there with me! It was to the right hand side of Oak Park as you approached it from the car park (as has been mentioned). I’m sure we just went across the car park directly to it – I never knew it was part of Walsall Wood school until today! Heavy chlorine, red eyes, verruca socks and yes, boiling hot radiators are my memories of the place. I still have the green badge somewhere in my jumble!

  27. Suzanne Westwwood says:

    I remember learning to swim in that pool, many happy memories of the school x

  28. Tina Day says:

    I remember doing sponsored walk to raise money for the pool when I was about 6. I think the girl in the pic may be Debbie Fellows?

  29. Bowk says:

    I remember this pool I went to Castlefort back in the sixties great fun I cannot remember who the teacher was that would take us down mrs Holland,mrs seabourne mr hassell remember these very well oh such happy times

  30. Jill Manchester says:

    We had a pool exactly like this one at Cooper & Jordan in Aldridge. It was probably opened around 1963/4

  31. Emma Smith says:

    Yep I went there every week from Castlefort it was probably late 70’s early 80s. Mrs Humpage taught us to swim she was lovely and always had a suntan. It was a bit rundown when I went and seemed in dire need of repair, painting and a good clean. It was always freezing in the changing rooms too always found it weird how we had to climb up to the pool to get in especially when we used Oak Park too. Fond memories though x

    • Sue cawley says:

      That was my Mom. She still has a suntan because she goes abroad as often as they can. She’s 80 this month. So lovely that you remember her. Thank you.

  32. Nina says:

    I learned to swim in this pool. Mrs Jane Humpage taught me. I got my blue badge for swimming and diving under to pick up a brick.

    My mother, Pat Williams was caretaker of Walsall Wood JMI from 1984/85 until her retirement in 2009.

    Lots of good memories, thanks for sharing.

  33. Diane Codrington says:

    I can remember those pre fabricated classrooms before the swimming pool. Subjects taught in them were Domestic Science, Woodwork, Metal work, Typing. Not sure which one was turned into the swimming pool.

  34. David Evans says:

    Hi Diane
    I believe it was Mr Langford’s former metalwork room that housed the swimming pool.The other part of this building was Mr Thomas’s classroom. He drove an incredible Bond three wheeler all-smoking car. Lift the bonnet to access the two stroke engine’s kick start.
    Mr Ashford taught in the single pre-fab classroom, mid1950s, that is.
    kind regards

  35. David says:

    I went to Walsall wood then later are schools went to Sheffield Primary school swimmer pool

  36. christopher gilbert says:

    I remember it well we used to walk from St Johns, i also remember having to dive under and pick up the black rubber brick being a real sense of achievement. Mrs Humpage was our swimming teacher

  37. Sue says:

    I remember the pool opening as I was a pupil at the school at the time it was built. Loved my swimming lessons there!

  38. Margaret Dorsett says:

    Does any one have pictures of Milfield primary school swimming pool opening in the 1960 s?

  39. Roderick Rogers says:

    I learned to swim in this pool brings back memories.All off the community helped fund the building of the pool it was a fantastic achievement,this is what happens when a community works together

  40. Steve guest says:

    When i went to coalheath lane it had its own pool similar to the Walsall wood one. We got took to oak park for swimming from shelfield comp

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