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Sheaf Valley Swimming Baths


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SHEAF VALLEY SWIMMING BATHS

 

 

 

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pictured above - the red are shows location of Sheaf Valley Baths

 

 

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Sheaf Valley Baths was an extremely popular swimming baths in Sheffield City Centre

There were three pools - a tiny child's shallow pool, a main swimming pool and of course the diving pool along with the diving boards and the infamous 'Top Splash' which was a scarily high diving platform that the bravest used to throw themselves off !

The Sheaf Valley Swimming Baths also contained a mural painted by disgraced Rolf Harris. The story goes that Paul Fletcher purchased it when Sheaf Valley closed and put it up at Fletchers Bakery - which of course has burned down now.

 

more coming shortly..

 

 

 

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Hey!!!! I think I was there that day! I remeber having the machine freebies, we tried it again when we went back a week later, but it didn't work, so we went and told the cafe assistant that we had pu

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Guest transit

The actual site of the baths were on the bottom triangle of greenery directly below your red square on the bottom of picture 1. Sad to see it go. Great site - will recomend to friends.

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Sheffield History

Thanks for the kind words about the site - it's brand new and hopefully will grow quickly into a friendly community celebrating Sheffield !

Sheaf Valley Baths will always be to me the home of the Top Splash, Nudge bars in the chocolate machines, and free hot drinks when the machine broke

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest coffee cup

I remember going swimming at Sheaf Valley Baths, depending on the time you went for a swim depended on the colour wrist band you got.

When a session was up a coloured light would flash, if it matched the colour of your wrist band "It was time to leave the Pool"

We used to war them on our ankle, and get an extra few mins, but before we got out of the pool we used to take them off and hide them in our hands, Very naughty I know but it worked. :lol:

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Sheffield History

ha ha ha !!!

For some reason I think that it was a huge air raid siren that sounded too ??

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Guest coffee cup

Yes, I think you a right.

Does anyone remember the other facilities there.

I remember going for a Sauna at some stage we got these fluffy but grubby white toweling bath robes to wear.

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Sheffield History

I remember the area where you could sit and have a drink and a chocolate from the machines

Some of the bars in there you couldn't find from any shops anywhere else like 'nudge' bars, 'stop gap' bars and others that were worth the trip to the baths alone

Excellent

One day the machines were hacked by some clever kids who managed to ensure that the drinks machines and chocolate machines paid out your choice pluls gave you your money back

we had the time of our lives, stuffed our pockets and went home on a very legendary day full of chocolate

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Guest coffee cup

Used to buy the Hot Choc from machine but not Choc bars, I prefered the crisp machine which sold Bones (black packet) and fangs (red packet) used to get these from Hillsborough baths as well (old Hillsborough baths) these were salt & Vinager(Bones), think fangs were cheese & onion, but can not be sure

We also used to buy OXO flavour crisps can't remember if they were made by smiths or golden wonder, I have just remembered they weren't OXO they were Bovril flavour .

Nearest thing now is Walkers Marmite. YUM YUM !! :P:P :P

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Guest transit

Can remember eating our sweets upstairs on the viewing gallery (four or five rows deep) before being spotted and ordered down. The baths consisted of three pools - the first immediatly in front of you as you walked out of the changing rooms (through the foot bath!). This was known as the babypool and was only about 18 inch deep end down to about 6 inch.it was approx 15 x 30 and had the shallow end overlooking the bus station through large glass windows . This pool was was always busy with mothers and small children - and i dont think any kids over twelve were aloud in , although me and my mates always tried to sneak in ,when the supervisors back was turned , because the water always seemed red hot! It was always a common prank to jump in also when your time was up as if you got caught you were going out anyway! The second pool was a large 100 x30 foot ? main pool with the deep end in the middle - with one end being a large glass facade over looking the train station and incoming buses and taxis. The other end had a large clock and to the left was the coloured tubes which flashed , along with the siren when your hour was up. This pool was reguarly cordened off in sections to do lessons ect during weekdays . The third pool was the diving pool -with its infamous top splash , and two smaller ones for the not so brave! The water in here always seemed ice cold , although people always got out quick for fear of the next diver landing on your head! Cant remember touching the bottom ,it seemed so deep . Also remember the gaurd sitting on a tennis umpire type seat and blowing his whistle if we were taking too long to get out. There was a triagular garden behind him. I can also remember the music which played which seemed to be stuck on 1972 - which was when the baths opened, for at least the next ten years! ( carly simon ,youre so vain - beatles-with a little help from my friends etc) For me ,they were a brilliant place to go and was upset when they closed.

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Sheffield History

You just reminded me of the little pool being really warm - it certainly was and always had a very sickly smell

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GrinderBloke

I too recall the temperature of the kiddies pool.

When the baths first opened it seemed to take quite a while to get the level of chlorine in the water as a regular I had permanent red eyes. You could also smell the chlorinated water in The river Sheaf.

The food machines were always a lucky dip, if you didn't get anything out give the machine a bit of a nudge ;)

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I had the Kudos for being the first girl in my year to throw herself off Top Splash, a feat I still hold in high regard nearly twenty years later and with which I bore assorted friends and family every time we find ourselves passing Pond St! This was a day out with our teachers to celebrate the end of term. The afternoon saw us go to Flat Street Cinema to see Nuns on the Run which looking back I see as a rather dubious choice for a bunch of 11 and 12 year olds!

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1SteelCity2Another

Living in Hillsborough we used to go to Hillsborough baths mostly, but the odd weekend we could go to Sheaf Valley. Wonderful memories brought back reading these recollections. I used to like to hop from one end to the other, through the deep middle, and I always chuckled at the sign telling you what you were'nt allowed to do....especially the 'No Petting' bit. Quality days indeed.

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Guest Noise Heat Power

What is it with swimming pools and vending machines?

Without doubt, the number one reason I used to enjoy going to Heeley Baths was to get a Texan Bar on the way out. I never bought one at any other time.

Even my own kids pester me summat daft for a bag of crisps from the machine when we go swimming. I mostly refuse... then remember my own Texan longing and feel like the world's worst parent.

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Sheffield History

It's bizarre isn't it !

Nudge bars were fantastic - only place I ever saw them was Sheaf Valley

Same with Stop Gap - which were like a big wagon wheel sized thing with a hole in the middle

Gorgeous - but only found at Sheaf Valley

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest sheffsteel

My memories of Sheaf Valley baths.

The changing facilities were intially uni-sex cubicles. I remember trying to find an empty cubicle and opening the door to find a mother and child

trying to get changed (they'd not locked the cubicle door properly or maybe the lock was broken).

Can you beleive it, uni-sex changing facilites with doors that have broken locks, just shows how times have changed.

You would have to stuff all your clothing into a metal coat hanger type basket and take it to this cloakroom attendant. You'd stuff your underwear

to the bottom of the basket as you didnt want it on display to all and sundry.

They later split the changing rooms to make totally separate male/ female areas and the cloak room attendant area was put in between.

I remember the green, blue, red, yellow numbered wrist bands, they were the equivalent of your cloak room ticket to get your clothes back

and they'd also make sure you spent the correct amount of time in the pool.

A siren would sound and eveyone would look on the wall to see which colour band had to leave the pool.

I also remember they used to play music (quite loudly) in the pool area, I clearly remember hearing Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen) around the pool

area when it was in the charts.

The comment about chlorine made me laugh. Yes I agree i think they over chlorinated the water (especially in the really warm baby pool).

We all used to come out of the pool with blood shot eyes, what a sight, lol.

Sheaf Valley was a great place and very popular.

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Guest sheffsteel

Just spoke to my brother about the baskets.

He remembers how you were always wary of the coins in your trousers falling out, so you'd put all your lose change

into your shoes. However you were worried that the cloakroom room attendants might pinch your lose change, so

we use to put our lose change in our smelly socks (to deter the would be theives), then put it in our shoes.

My brother also remembers that there was an art to packing the unbelievably small basket. You would always

make the mistake of putting your towel in the bottom of your basket, then when you've finished swimming and trying

to get dressed the water from your body would drip all over your clothes or your clothes would fall out all over the

wet floor as you're trying to get to your towel at the bottom of the basket.

Actually I too remember spending a good 10 minutes packing and repacking my basket.

Do you put the shoes in first or last ? and you cant have your pants on top on the pile on display etc, lol.

My brother has mentioned that there was a problem trying to hide your wrist band and get a extra few minutes

in the pool. He remembers there was only ever 2 attendants on the cloak room, one for women and one for men.

If you delayed getting out of the baths when the siren went then you could end up waiting in a MASSIVE queue

shivering and freezing to death.

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Sheffield History

I didn't like the open showers much

As a child you can feel intimidated by huge naked men and the horrible smell of warm showering men

errrggg..

lol

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Guest daveyboy66

I used to work at sheaf valley baths when I first got out of the army in 1976. When i got there we had an australian lad who said that Mike Wenden the Aussie Olympic swimmer was his brother ( which was a shame as he could have taught him to swim better lol )

Anyway a couple of years later this guy turns up on the front page of the Times posing as a surgeon at a london hospital lol

We also had a lad who was supposed to have been in the paras ( despite me and another guy who served with the paras not knowing him ). One day he was supposed to be cleaning the side of the diving pool and nearly drowned and me and Fred Furniss

who is now an Olympic swimming coach, had to dive in and pull him out. lol

After I left I used to go down the sauna there on a regular basis, Brendan Ingle and most of the fighters used to go down there including Herol Graham, Brian Anderson, Johnny Nelson and a young Nassem Hamed. I once was sat in the steam room with Uriah Rennie who was telling me about his first ever football league appointment as a linesman at Donny Rovers.

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Guest mad mozza

Can anyone tell me why they pulled it down?

I once heard a rumour that the concrete was crumbling due to the high moisture and temperature within the baths?

If that's true then it was a huge boo boo on behalf of the design engineers!!

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  • 1 month later...
knightstemplar

"quote" one day the machines were hacked by some clever kids who managed to ensure that the drinks machines and chocolate machines paid out your choice plus gave you your money back

Not guilty on this account but I think I have got a good idea who did it. Never paid for a drink as we had a mate that told us the codes for the drinks test (his mum worked for a vending company).

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  • 3 weeks later...
Biscuit Head

I think Rolf Harris was quite a competitive swimmer in his young days....might have swam for Australia. He used to do those public information film where he was in the pool encouraging kids to learn to swim.

I could never tell what the picture was supposed to be.......I thought it was somebodies leg, but it turned out to be someone swimming........no real surprise there. I wonder if there is any photographic record of the painting.

Those bakets were tiny and seemed to have a habit of digging you in the legs and feet as you struggled to the counter with them.

Nothing better than a hot chocolate from the machine to take away the taste of the chlorine though.

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