Sharks, mermaids, mini cookies and chips and gravy - your memories of Temple Park swimming pool as demolition work continues at South Shields 'baths'

The swimming pool at Temple Park
The swimming pool at Temple Park

Mermaids in the diving pool, sharks behind the wave machine - and the chips and gravy were the best.

Gazette readers have been sharing their memories as work presses ahead on the demolition work at Temple Park swimming pool. The rest of the leisure centre remains open as normal.

The aquablaster seen through the rubble and hoarding at the demolition site this week

The aquablaster seen through the rubble and hoarding at the demolition site this week

The work reached a stage this week where a cross section of the pool showing the aquablaster, overhead pipes and depth signs could be seen through the rubble and ragged brickwork.

The pictures brought back happy memories for some of the thousands of people who used the pool over the years.

Karen Temple said: "I always thought the bars at the back were for sharks, and I thought the diving pool was for mermaids when we went in our younger days."

Related: In pictures: Final farewell to South Shields pool as demolition work reveals cross section of memories

Kerry Duke said: "I remember being terrified that sharks where actually behind those bars. Some great memories made in Temple Park! Shame though as last time I went with the kids one being only a baby, our locker was broken into and they took everything. Even the babies clothes and food."

Tom Martin said: "The diving pool was always my favourite. I remember when smaller staring through the window at people big enough to use it trying to reach the bottom of it and then finally the day came when they allowed me in and wow, it was a real lung buster trying to get right down to touch the bottom the first few times.

"Nothing like hiding your band on your wrist, so that when your colour was called you could hide it, so you could stay in longer and then when you finally came out 3 hours later you'd be like a shrivelled prune and as someone else has said, great getting out and then going to eat chips and gravy in the cafe."

Monika Lobacz said: "So sad, I loved that swimming pool with diving pool, wave machine and palm trees. Fantastic architecture, clever design. Great location, lots of parking spaces."

Sophie Brown said: "Catey Young remember Friday swimming after school! How sad! "

Catherine Arthur replied: "I never did get all the way to the end of that big pirate inflatable!"

Charlotte Craigie said: "Going every Friday night after school/college with friends. The slide, wave machine, and the rare inflatable pirate thingy."

Gillian Young said: "I was there nearly very night with my twin girls in the early eighties: swimming, gymnastics, trampolining. Sad to see it go."

Iain Wilson said: "Such a shame but the cost of maintaining & repairing it was its downfall.

"So many great memories going there inc the diving pool and old bumpy slide. Then later on through working there with a great bunch of staff! Sad times."

Related: 17 happy childhood memories of visits to South Shields' Temple Park swimming pool in its glory days

Pook Melia said: "The sirens and the flashing color of your wrist band. Then get out and have the best chip gravy in a bread bun. Wish it was back. My kids would love this now."

Richard Isaac said: "What about the icy cold foot pool you had to endure before entering the pool?"

James Parkin said: "Reckon my goggles are in the lost and found? Might go pick them up."

Crystal Burns Purdy said: "Haven point is not a patch on this: best thing about temple park was the water slide trying not to go under water and always failing."

Julia Anne said: "Spent many weekends here as a child, then a young adult taking young family members....it was the best pool around, so sad that the new pool isn't a like for like. Lots of happy memories."

Sean Waldron said: "Ah fond memories, from the baths, to the roller discos and even the gravy and chips."

Indeed, while it was part of the leisure centre and a place to be physically active, fond memories of food seemed to feature heavily - including some combination of sausage, gravy and chips, and bags of mini cookies.

Lee Jensen said: "Used take my daughter there every Sun, gravy n chips were the best."

Denny Moore said: "Chocolate chipped cookies out the vending machine 20p a packet."

Shaun Ramsay said: "Mini cookies loved them."

Tracey Emerson said: "OMG this was always my treat after swimming, as my grandparents used to take me and my sister on a Sunday, so we were only allowed a little bag of cookies cos we were going back to my grandparents house to have our Sunday dinner."

Lyndsey Turner said: "Sunday afternoons: swimming pool, sausage and chips with a slush puppie, followed by an hour in the park. Class."

Michael Olsen said: "Love it!! Many happy memories and the chicken soup afterwards from the vending machine was lush."

Irene Lamb said: "Would spend all day there when younger. Pool was great, chips and gravy afterwards, then park for hours. Brilliant. Should of never closed it."

Darren Black said: "Loved that place as a kid, great times I had back in the day. After swimming it was chips and beans and a packet of mini cookies from the vending machine. It’s very sad to see."

Others bemoaned the fact the pool had not been kept going, with many saying they did not like the pool at Haven Point - or had never even visited the new seafront facility.

Tom Martin said: "I still think the council have made a massive mistake getting rid of the pool, rather than simply refurbishing it like they could have."

Chris Payn said: "Depressing to think how good that was and to be replaced by that pathetic thing down the seafront ."

Rob Cuniff said: "Should have kept it and upgraded the place, great memories."

Crystal Burns said: "I hate haven point and Hebburn Hub is even worse. My son loves to go swimming but the pools are pants compared to the ones that they pulled down."

Jake Stoner said: "I hate that haven leisure pool was so much better and the sausage and chips with gravy was the best."

Derek Wilson said: "Truly heartbreaking."

Helen R Goudie said: "Money should have been spent on Temple Park not on the goldfish bowl at Haven point

Darren Black said: "They should have spent money on fixing the place as it had more character than the new Haven Point. Such a shame."