15 years on, I’m ready to admit Norwich doesn’t have a Waterworld

I was trawling through our library system the other day when I came across a front page I wrote in 1997 about the proposed Riverside swimming pool.

These were the days when I was the Evening News' chief reporter on newsdesk, on the frontline, on shifts that were so horrendous that I quickly had a baby and took a job in the Monday-to-Friday, nine-to-five features department, instead.

Under the tantalising headline 'WATERWORLD!', I urged readers to join a campaign to secure enough National Lottery cash to start work on a pool which I said would, and I quote, 'make Norwich the envy of the nation'.

This modern-day Atlantis would include an Olympic-size swimming competition pool, a leisure pool with water slides, flumes and a hot bubble pool, moveable floors and walls to create pools of different sizes and depths, seats for 500 spectators, a restaurant overlooking the River Wensum, an adventure playground for children, a dance studio and meeting rooms for the community.

All that was missing was regularly scheduled dragon flights to Narnia and an Ikea concession in reception.


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Thousands of people joined the campaign, probably on the basis that this pool sounded really great: hot bubble pools? Yay! Flumes? Awesome! Moveable floors and walls? A bit random, but yes, if you say so.

I went to our 'WATERWORLD!' the other day and, I have to say, I may have misled you somewhat.

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For hot bubble pool, read 'spa bath'. For flumes, water slides, moveable floors and walls, adventure playgrounds and Olympic-sized pool, read 'avoiding leathery-skinned pensioners grimly ploughing up and down a 25m pool and a few inflatables'.

What can I say? I copied it off a press release: I'm having that put on my gravestone.

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