Sunday 23 October 2011

The Quarrymen Join the Campaign to Save Woolton Baths

On October 19, the Quarrymen performed at the Royal British Legion Hall in Woolton. Their show, as always, was a privilege to watch. The three original members of John Lennon’s Quarrymen – Rod Davis, Len Garry and Colin Hanton – accompanied by Owen Clayson on the double bass, performed two sets of skiffle and rock ‘n’ roll classics and entertained the crowd with their memories of John and the early days of playing in the band.

It’s always a thrill to watch the Quarrymen perform but this show was extra-special. The Quarrymen have joined the campaign to save Woolton Swimming Baths, the historic Victorian plunge baths where both John Lennon and Paul McCartney swam as children.

The baths were closed last year as part of the local government’s cost-cutting efforts but two youngsters were determined that they weren’t going to lose this vital recreation facility without a fight.

Jake Sullivan, aged 11, and Elian McClements, 10, organised a petition demanding that the pool be re-opened.  Jake described how on hearing of the closure he felt something needed to be done to save the community facility: “We decided that as a school we needed to fight the closure, so I emailed our headmaster, who agreed to help as best he could.  We also emailed local councillors and I decided to gather a petition at school to try and get as many signatures as possible.  We got 947 signatures brought back to the school from other people in our school, and now it’s nearer to 2,000.”

Led by the two boys, and TV presenter, Simon O’Brien, the campaign gathered momentum; the boys even addressed a full meeting of the council at Liverpool Town Hall.

Jake and Elian onstage with the Quarrymen

In the year since the pool closed, the campaign has gone from strength to strength. The appearance of the Quarrymen at this special fundraiser – all of whom had fond memories of swimming in the baths when they were children – is testament to that.

The Baths are not just important because of their history, or their connection with the Beatles. The Baths are a vital part of the local community. As Elian told Liverpool council, “Our swimming pool may be over 100 years-old and old-fashioned, but our community loves it and we will fight to get it open again. Our school used to walk to the pool regularly. We think it’s very important to keep our baths open, as it’s much-loved and much-used.” Indeed, in the financial year before the baths were closed, council figures showed that there were over 77,000 visits to the pool – an average of nearly 1500 a week.

Simon O’Brien, the ex-Brookside star, who the boys invited to participate in the campaign, added: “Yes, it costs, but we think its usage justifies the cost. This is a pool that taught Olympic bronze medallist, Stephen Parry and Beatles legend, John Lennon how to swim. These baths are part of this great city’s golden history.”

At the concert on Wednesday, Simon revealed that there is every reason to be hopeful that the baths will re-open, but warned that the fight is not over yet.  If you would like to donate to this wonderful cause, and not only help to save a piece of Beatles history, but also something that is so important to present and future residents of Woolton and the surrounding area, click here

To find out more about the campaign to Save Woolton Baths, visit the website by clicking here

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