History

Shoalstone Pool was built on the site of a natural rock pool that people used for bathing in 1896. Two walls were built around some rocks to retain water for bathing at all times of the tide.

In 1926 the Pool was altered to more or less the same shape as it is now but with a lot of bedrock removed, a gradient bottom to form a shallow and deep end with a depth twice the height of the original.

For most of the Second World War the Pool was shut. The Americans took over a large part of the area and used a number of houses on Berry Head Road as field hospitals. Notably some houses near the Pool being The Elders, Greenbrier and the Shoalstone Hotel.

After the War was over, the Pool reopened in 1946 and survived the elements reasonably well winter after winter. The start of the Pool’s season used to be marked by local lady Minnie Bowman jumping off the diving board (yes, we used to have one) wrapped in the Union Flag. That tradition carried on for many years.

In 1979 a New Year storm badly damaged the Pool and dumped most of the broken up concrete from the seawater side in it. At the time the Council considered shutting it, however because of its popularity they came up with money to reinstate the facility.

When the Pool was repaired a wall was built along the sea edge to help protect it from further storms in the future; a move that to a certain extent worked well.

A number of years went by with rumours circulating about closure, and a brief spell of being run by a Leisure Company, when in 2004 Torbay Council announced that they could no longer guarantee funding. A public meeting was called and subsequently a working party set up to look to keeping the Pool open.

That working party became The Friends of Shoalstone Pool and undertook the task of doing the maintenance of the Pool in partnership with Torbay Council.

In 2009 eleven wooden beach huts were sited on the raised platform at the kiosk end for locals to hire for a 16 week season.

In 2012 the Chairman, Mark Portwood inspired the town to support the annual pool refurbishment in the face of a Torbay Council decision to only open for the six weeks of the school holiday. Youngsters from Brixham College worked with a graffiti artist to paint a huge sea mural which can be clearly seen out to sea.

Shoalstone Pool celebrated its 90th birthday in 2016, and holds a wealth of happy memories for the local community as well as visitors to Brixham.

We are in the process of collating photographs and stories to preserve this very special history – if you have any you would like to share then we would love to hear from you!

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