With plenty of smiles and tumblers raised, you might think this was a happy occasion.

In fact, the swimmers were facing a spell on dry land – Temple Cowley pool in Oxford was closing for a £2.3m refit.

The pool-side party in 1984 marked a temporary end to their regular swims as contractors moved in to start work on the 18-month project.

READ MORE: Eviction court case looms for cafe 

One of the organisers, Jean Balderston, said: “We are sorry to see the pool close. A lot of people love coming here during lunch breaks from work and we shall miss that.

“I thought it would be a good idea if we got together for a bit of a farewell party. We all had a swim and then enjoyed a glass of wine at the poolside. It was fun but sad at the same time.”

To mark the final plunge, before work on the refit began, swimmers were admitted free all day on the last Sunday.

The pool reopened in 1986. The cost had risen to £3m, but swimmers now had an Olympic-standard complex, in which to swim and train.

However, in September 2010, the city council announced plans to build a new pool and leisure centre in Blackbird Leys, demolish Temple Cowley and sell the site for housing.

Activists collected 10,000 signatures to fight the closure and took their campaign to the High Court. But the council said it was costing too much to run the pool.

READ MORE: Gourmet burger restaurant is opening in Cornmarket

City councillor Scott Seamons said at the time: “It wasn’t a hard decision to make. The city is receiving £3.5m for the site and we’ve invested over £9m in a state-of-the-art facility at Blackbird Leys which will surpass the facilities offered at Temple Cowley.”

Help support trusted local news 

Sign up for a digital subscription now: oxfordmail.co.uk/subscribe 

As a digital subscriber you will get: 

  • Unlimited access to the Oxford Mail website 
  • Advert-light access 
  • Reader rewards 
  • Full access to our app 

About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.