As long ago as 1891 there had been a proposal for a floating swimming bath in the river. In 1900 the Thames Conservancy turned down a plan for the Hampton Urban District Council to be granted a lease on part of the river for bathing. There was much unsupervised swimming in the river and sites for a swimming pool were sought over the next few years. By January 1907 permission was given for an open air bath in Bushy Park near the Pantile Bridge in Hampton Hill but it was considered too difficult to build there and an equally good site was sought nearby. It was not until November 1913 that a site behind the Drill Hall (now the site of J&P Motors) was identified and a plan was approved by the U.D.C. to construct a bath at an estimated cost of £1,150. In 1914 the U.D.C. were ready to go ahead with the site and the finance, when the Great War broke out and all plans were put on hold. The pool was eventually opened in 1922.
From 1922 to 1980 the pool was run by various levels of local government as an unheated open air pool. The pool was upgraded in 1939, when a diving pit and filtration plant were added and again in 1961 when the pool was widened and the present brick building and car park were constructed. In 1980/81 Richmond Council decided that it was no longer financially viable for it to continue to run the pool and accordingly closed it at the end of the summer in 1981.The pool remained closed from 1981 to 1984.
In 1983 Richmond Council decided to demolish the pool and hand the land back to Bushy Park. A local community action group was formed and in 1984 it was successful in preventing the demolition of the pool. Local effort was focused into persuading the Council to change its mind and keep the pool open.
Following local elections and a change of control the new council agreed to transfer the pool to the group provided a sum of £20,000 was raised. In fact over £60,000 was raised including grants from the GLC and Richmond Council and permission was given to take over the pool. In 1984 Hampton Pool Ltd was formed and an application made for educational charitable status which was granted.
After 4 years of closure the pool reopened in the summer of 1985 as an heated swimming pool. Later additional land was obtained from the Royal Parks and a small teaching pool was built with financial help from the Hampton Fuel Charity. At the same time part of the parkland was incorporated into grassed sunbathing and recreation area.
Over the past 20 years the pool has gone from strength to strength. From the short summer season in 1985 the pool is now open for swimming on every day of the year. Over the years all profits have been reinvested into the facilities but the continuing maintenance of the pool has been an ongoing challenge and major investment was needed long term if this splendid community asset was to continue.
In 2004 we completed first phase of the planned improvements at a cost of some £370,000 and The New Hampton Pool has been reopened. The refurbishment of the interior of the main building during 2006 is now completed and reopened on 18 July. Over the past two years some £800,000 has been spent on improvements but there is still a lot to do to complete our plans for the pool but these will await further fund raising.
Hampton Pool Trust is a not for profit company, limited by guarantee and a registered charity. Hampton Pool is managed by a voluntary board of trustees and qualified professional leisure industry staff. More information can be obtained here.