News from Played in Britain

Three inter-war sports related buildings listed by English Heritage and Historic Scotland

March 10 2010

Three sports and recreation-related buildings from the 1920s and 1930s in England and Scotland have been listed in recent months. They are an inter-war thatched cricket pavilion at Ashton Wold in Northamptonshire, an open air swimming pool at Ilkley in Yorkshire and a former municipal baths on Bruce Street in Clydebank.

Ashton Wold cricket pavilion

Listed Grade II in December 2009, the delightful thatched, timber cricket pavilion at Ashton Wold forms part of the Rothschild's Ashton Estate in East Northamptonshire, and is thought to date from the late 1920s or early 1930s. Its designer was probably the estate architect William Huckvale.


Ashton Wold cricket pavilion, now listed Grade II (photo by Trish Roberts, English Heritage)

As the listing description states, although the pavilion was a later addition, it well reflects the design and social ethos of numerous other buildings on the estate. 'Ashton is an unusually complete example of an Edwardian estate, in which individual structures are united by a philosophy that combined philanthropy (which included the pioneering provision of clean water and locally generated electricity) with conservation in the form of an aesthetic which emphasised the value of local vernacular traditions. The new estate buildings were notable for the skill with which the Vernacular Revival style was handled by Huckvale, for the very high quality of the materials chosen for their construction and the care and sensitivity with which they were handled by both the designer and craftspeople.'

Ashton Wold is the third thatched cricket pavilion in England to have been listed Grade II, the other two being at at Hemingford Abbots, Cambs, built in 1897, and at Stanway, Gloucestershire, built in 1925.

For more information on the Ashton Wold Cricket Club, visit

For more on the Ashton Estate, visit


Ilkley Lido, now listed Grade II and with its original aerator in the centre of the mushroom-shaped pool (photo by Sue Cutler). For more photographs of Ilkley Lido, visit

Ilkley Lido in Yorkshire

Also from the inter war period and now listed Grade II, Ilkley Lido was opened in 1935 as part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations of George V. Located on Denton Road, Ilkley - 'Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales' as the 1950s British Railway posters used to state - the lido is set in a scenic, parkland location between two cricket ovals and various tennis courts. Across the road lies the ground of Ilkley Rugby Club. There is also a 1970s indoor pool on the lido site, so in Played in Britain terms this is a genuine sporting cluster.

Designed by Frank Skinner, Ilkley's District Borough Surveyor, the lido's ancillary buildings around the pool are designed in a vernacular style, rather than Art Deco or Moderne, while the pool itself, 46m wide at its widest point, is a rare mushroom-shape, which allowed water polo to be played in the deeper, rectangular end. Even better, the original aerator is still in use in the centre of the pool (whereas most aerators elsewhere have been decommissioned or fenced off from public access).

Another noteworthy feature on site is the lido café, which has glazed concertina doors opening out onto an elevated sun terrace. When opened in 1935, the café was run by Taylor's of nearby Harrogate.

Definitely worth a visit during the swimming season.

The former Bruce Street Public Baths in Clydebank

North of the border, Historic Scotland have also recently listed a 1930s pool; this one being the former Bruce Street Public Baths in Clydebank, now listed Category C(S).

Opened in 1932, the building is in Baroque Revival style to match nearby municipal buildings (a town hall and library dating back to 1902), and although unused for swimming for some years, the pool interior is reasonably intact with some good quality period metal railings and a concrete arched, top-lit roof, typical of the inter war years. Bruce Street is a good example of an inter-war pool built soon after regulations on water quality were changed in the late 1920s to require all swimmers to enter the pool via showers and footbaths.

Current plans being considered by West Dunbartonshire Council are to retain the pool hall for other uses but to demolish the less distinguished adjoining slipper baths building. The façade and pool hall will then form part of the regeneration of Clydebank's civic centre, which suffered badly from bombing during the Second World War and was substantially rebuilt in the post war period.

For the full description details of Bruce Street Baths, Clydebank, visit

For images of Bruce Street Baths, Clydebank, visit

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