FRAMED Last day at Galashiels Baths. Nov. 1983
FRAMED Last day at Galashiels Baths. Nov. 1983

Galashiels Swimming Baths at Wilderhaugh were packed to capacity on Sunday, November 20, 1983 when a farewell gala was held to mark the closure of the 69-year-old pool.

The event was organised by Gala Swimming Club ahead of the final swim sessions six days later.

The pool was gifted to the town by local manufacturer Anderson Dickson and his wife, and within a few weeks of the official opening on September 13, 1915, the swimming club had been formed.

Ettrick and Lauderdale District Council had a new pool built in Gala Policies and it opened for business on December 12, just a week or so after the closure, with an official opening ceremony the following April by Princess Anne.

The farewell gala included a lament played by Piper Jimmy Rae and swimmers taking part were presented with certificates by 71-year-old Tom Pringle, a life member of the club and oldest swimmer of the day. Chairman of the Scottish Sports Council Peter Heatly took to the water and Provost Drew Tulley toasted both the old and the new baths.

But the new facility wasn’t to everyone’s liking. The old pool went from three feet, to seven feet to six feet, while the new pool had an overall of depth of under four feet – posing problems for the local water polo club which had in the past achieved much glory.

The Wilderhaugh facility was demolished to make way for an extension to the then-thriving Bepi electronics plant. American giants Viasystem eventually took over, leading to closure.

A builders’ merchant complex now stands on the site of the old baths.

– compiled by Bob Burgess