Diving board at Empire Swimming Pool, Cardiff.
As well as being built for use in the British Empire and Commonwealth Games held in Cardiff in 1958, the Empire Pool also marked Cardiff's new status (granted in 1955) as the Capital City of Wales. The new leisure building also represented the ending of the post-war austerity and the introduction of the first modernist public building in the city.
The long pool (originally 55 yards, later reduced to 50 metres) was flanked by tiered tip-up red and grey seats, with the diving boards at the north end. The capacity for 1772 spectators exceeded most covered entertainment venues of the time. Stairs at each end of the glazed foyer led to the first-floor changing rooms and the notable parquet-floored and chromium embellished second-floor cafe.
The Empire Pool and Cardiff Arms Park; both stylish public buildings were Cardiff's favourite post-war buildings and formed and interesting 'leisure' group adjoin the distinctive transport buildings of the Central railway (1932-4) and bus stations built on the site of the 19th century terraces of Temperance Town.
1956-8: Empire Pool constructed, designed by D. M. Davies
1958: Pool opened April 18th; Empire and Commonwealth Games start July 6th
1998: Pool closes on 8th May; demolished May/June

Comments (6)

Anonymous's picture
Loved that Pool 16 ft at the deep end, used to throw our ST Christopher's into the water and dive down to the bottom to get them, also swam a width under water, only thing i didn't do is dive off top board scared of hights but both my Two boys have done it .
Anonymous's picture
Loved the Pool but i went onto top board, Pool looked so small from that hight no way was i diving off, heard some guy split his guts open doing a belly flop off there, don't know if that was true or just a rumour!
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales's picture
Great comments! Not sure about the gut splitting - tall story? If you have any photos of the pool it would be great to have them on the site - we're sadly lacking the people in the photos! RCAHMW
Anonymous's picture
We used to go to the Empire pool regularly as young boys, diving of the top board was our braves feat. Diving down to the bottom of the 16ft pit was also a challenge we thoroughly enjoyed. What memories.
Anonymous's picture
curious, does anyone the the height of the diving boards at the old empire pool, i was only ever brave enough to go off the 3rd board which seemed massive as a kid.
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales's picture
Thanks for the comments! We don't know the height of the diving boards, but hopefully someone else does. This is a great little film taken at the pool in the 1960s:

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