Lakenham's own oasis, still fondly remembered.
PUBLISHED: 15:03 01 October 2012
Thank you for all your memories of happy days at Lakenham Swimming Pool.
It was 20 years ago when the gates closed for the last time and the water drained away – leaving just memories of Costa del Lakenham.
And what wonderful memories you have of the swimming pool which so many of you still miss.
When they pulled the plug they destroyed a place which had played a leading part in so many people’s lives in the summer months.
Thank you for all your memories following my stories about the pool and special thanks to Lacey Douglass, who answered my call for rare pre-1951 photographs.
They belonged to her late aunt, Hilda Bulcock (Kelf). Here she is, in the pool in 1936, and then celebrating her 90th birthday in 2005.
“The picture of Hilly (as we called her) is one of my favourites,” said Lacey, but they don’t know who the other people in the photographs are.
Perhaps you recognise them?
Hilda, called “Girl Hilda” by her dad, lived with her parents and two brothers, Stephen & Russell, at Sunny Hills, Lakenham.
She worked at Caley’s and later as a cook at Norwich Union.
Hilda married Albert Sidney Barber during the Second World War, but was widowed on D-Day. She was heartbroken.
She then met Jack (John) Bulcock and they married in the 1960s, living on Scarlet Road, Tuckswood, “She was an amazing character,” said Lacey.
“So much fun, so many stories and sayings. She loved to travel, to dance, to entertain and cook. She made her own clothes. She loved fashion, she adored sherry – and she is much missed by all who knew her.”
➔ Other memories from way back came from Ron Breeze, one of the famous “Lakenham Originals” who said he used to pay 3d to get in back in 1939.
“I think I’m right in saying it was a fresh water swimming pool served by the river, which ran through the mill owned by Mr Jordan, and then past the Lakenham Cock and through a wire mesh to catch the reeds and other debris,” said Ron.
“During the war we would climb over the fence when it was closed and swim at night. Many times the searchlights would light up the sky and Ack Ack guns would be trying to bring the planes down.
“Your older readers may remember a time when two bombs were dropped on a smallholding run by a man we called Sharkey. Many pigs were killed.
“Also, the house shown in your picture behind the willow tree, owned by a Mr Johnson, had the side blown out, but luckily no-one was hurt.”