After years of neglect, the iconic art deco diving platform at Swindon's Coate Water Country Park has been restored to its former glory by the local council.
Initially schedule to last 12 weeks, the contractors finished the work 3 weeks early.
The idyllic Coate Water County Park is one of the main green spaces in Swindon. It started life in the 1820s as a feeder reservoir for the Wilts and Berks canal but the lake's leisure potential was quickly realised by Swindonians. It was used for fishing, boating and when it froze over in the winter, was teeming with skaters.
It was also the `New Sea` of the local author Richard Jefferies often reprinted children’s book, Bevis; the Story of a Boy.
The lake was re-imagined as a leisure destination in the 1930s when it was purchased by the Borough Council. It was landscaped and a new Art Deco pool built, (since demolished).
The diving platform was designed by J.B.L. Thompson, the Borough surveyor in 1935. He was also responsible for the Art Deco concert bowl in the Town Gardens in Swindon's Old Town.
This platform was built of re-enforced concrete to the most modern and safe design of the Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA).
It was opened officially on the 22 June 1935, and Miss Cicely Cousins later the National Diving champion, performed the first dive from it.
After pollution concerns, the lake was closed for swimming in 1958 leaving the diving board to the waterfowl.
The diving platform has long been a much loved part of Swindon’s architectural heritage and was ripe for restoration.
It was listed (Grade II) in 2013, being one of only four interwar concrete diving platforms to survive to this day, and the sole example located in a lake. Given that much Art Deco architecture has not survived the passing fashions, it is something Swindon can be proud of.
Coate Water is situated 5 kms to the southeast of central Swindon, near junction 15 of the M4.