Durnsford Road Baths

When we moved into this neighbourhood, I looked for a swimming pool, but all the ones nearby seemed to have closed. My AtoZ showed one where Sunshine Garden Centre is now, but when I went there it had changed identity! Gardens rule these days.

It would be lovely to hear other people's memories/stories of what this neighbourhood used to be like.

Here's a film of a Diving Display at Durnsford Road Baths shown in Pathe News in 1939 (thanks to Bowes and Bounds Connected for the link). It's a bit cheesy, but this was on the eve of world war...

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  • I grew up in Outram Road in the 60s. Free time was spent either at Durnsford Road pool, the rec, Alexandra Park library, roaming Ally Pally or at Saturday Morning pictures at Wood Green Odeon with the other local children, all outings unsupervised by adults. The vast size of the pool is exactly how I remember it, where my much older sister taught me to swim. We were told the diving board was Olympic height. I got as far as diving from the third level board. Not too clear in the film is that the flat roofs of the buildings were sunbathing terraces where a great deal of teenage flirtation went on. The soundtrack was Pretty Flamingo coming through transistor radios. Glorious. We must have been as fit as butchers dogs.

    • That pool sounds amazing!  "Fit as butchers dogs" - haven't heard that one! 

      It's a real loss that kids these days do so little unsupervised. Perhaps if the traffic was reduced in residential areas, they could have more freedom ...


    • I'm over in Palmers Green now, where quite a few streets have 'Play Streets' one Sunday afternoon a month. The street is closed to through traffic, adults are there to steward and keep an eye - and the children play however they want. Adults are not allowed to lead or suggest games. The kids and the adults on the streets love it. Some drivers object. Info on the Enfield council website, also google Better Streets for Enfield.

    • I didn't realise that Enfield has such a developed programme for Play Streets - sounds great! There have been attempts to get a playstreet in this neighbourhood, but Haringey have not allowed it. Good idea that 'adults are not allowed to lead or suggest games'!  Was that decided by the locals, or by the Council?


    • I don't know much more about this, but do look at these sites;

      The Better Streets for Enfield people are also involved in play streets. I've been told that older isolated people have ventured out of their homes to join in with the socialising that goes on during play street sessions.

      Play streets - London Play
    • Thanks, Julia. They are useful to lots of people!


  • I remember this closing, and wondering how much sand (?) it was going to take to fill it in. I also remember the AP race course - the last evening meeting was taking place when my parents first viewed our house in The Avenue  (which cost £10,150). We didn't know then that it was the last meeting - very disappointed to find that it had closed by the time we had moved in.  Also, when we all came to view the house, we looked out of one of the back bedroom windows and saw a disembodied head in a cap float past slowly.  It was the driver of the minature railway which used to run round the boating lake - which also closed very shortly after we moved in!  Wish my parents and husband were still here to attend the re-opening of the theatre.  We all thought that the park would become completely derelict - how wrong we were. 



    • I love the "disembodied head in a cap float[ing] past slowly"! So many exciting activities in the Park then - but I guess access to the boating lake must have been rather restricted with the miniature railway there?  Shame about the closing of the racecourse.

      I would say that £10k is a sensible price for a house.

      The turnaround in the fortunes of the Park and Palace has been really dramatic, hasn't it. It wasn't long ago that they were being milked for revenue from gigs by that entrepreneur - forget his name - Firoka? And there were also plans to create a casino and other money-making enterprises.


  • We used to go to the pool in the 80s. The children were taken there once when I was at work and the two year old got a very red sun tan!

    • Oops - though not really considered a problem in those days!  Was the swimming pool nice to use?  I guess it wasn't as big as it looks in the newsreel.


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