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

PUBLISHED: 00:08 15 August 2012

Riverside Leisure Centre, Wherry Road, Norwich.

Riverside Leisure Centre, Wherry Road, Norwich.

Archant © 2011

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.

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.

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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