Before the swimming pool was built at Cromer Road School, some pupils had the opportunity to swim at Church Farm in East Barnet. The children travelled by coach to the pool – which was then outdoors and unheated - and lessons were restricted to the oldest juniors.
Geoffrey Page, who was a pupil at the school from 1949 to 1954, has shared his memories of swimming lessons:
In the later years, I think the last two, we had to go swimming once a week in the summer term. We went to Church Farm pool, which was outside and freezing, every week; we all stood on tip toe in the shallow end and ignored the instructions to try to float using the plastic rectangle floats provided, often the temperature which was displayed on a large sign was 48 degree Fahrenheit, no teacher or instructor ever ventured into the water.
Entries in the school log book in the 1950s state that swimming certificates were awarded in assembly for the children who completed the course. In the early 1960s, children in the top classes were given a three-week course of swimming lessons in the summer term, travelling each day to Church Farm pool. Sometimes the weather was too cold for swimming outside in the unheated pool, even in May, and so the lessons were cancelled.
In 1968 it was decided to build a swimming pool at the school and the newly formed Parents’ Association started fundraising to pay for the pool. Children went on sponsored walks in Trent Park and held jumble sales to raise money for the Pool Fund. Each year the Summer Fair and Christmas Bazaar made lots of money too and by 1972 £8000 had been raised and work began on building the pool, under the direction of Mr J. Stevens.
On Saturday 10th March 1973 the Swimming Pool was officially opened by the Mayor of Barnet. The children had their first swimming lessons and by the end of the month, all classes had been in the pool. At the swimming gala in June, Cromer Road School’s team were proud to come second. Thousands of children have learned to swim in the pool since it opened forty-one years ago.