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gervassutti

The Demise of Dovey. (Dovecot Baths).

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In the days before Scotchbarn Lane Baths was built, if you lived in Prescot and could swim, the chances are that you learned to swim in Dovey, aka the Harold Davies Baths in Dovecot. For a ten year-old, a bus trip to Dovey Baths was an adventure that was up there with a day in 'Rocking Horse Wood', 'Gorse Hill', 'Bluebell Wood', and jumping 'The Brook' down the 'Old Carrs, or a 'take us in Missus' Western Matinee at The Lyme House on a Saturday afternoon.

 

Dovey had three pools; the shallow beginner's pool where pride would forbid you ever to enter, the ten foot deep diving pool with three diving boards, and the large main pool, where, if you wouldn't dive in and pick up a penny from the bottom of the six foot end, when you couldn't swim a stroke, then you were considered a sissy. The pool water was always cold, and many visits for a hot cup of tea to the Art Deco balcony cafe above were made, ignoring the 1d a splash Bryllcream dispenser on the stairs leading up to it.

 

Saturdays were always packed out and the changing locker always occupied, so you would have to change under the clock at the head of the baths, wrap up your clothes and leave them, mixed with many others, on seats that lay in rows below the clock. On occasion the money you needed to get home would be missing when you got back, and Billy, a friend, once had to make his way home, bare-footed, when someone discovered that Billy's shoes fitted him better than his own. Happy Days.

 

Driving through Dovecot many years later, I was surprised to see that Dovey, a relatively modern Baths, was being bulldozed, and all the memories of those halcyon days and the great times spent there came flooding back. I felt I just had to pay one last visit, and soon found myself standing amid the crumbling masonry, still able after an absence of many years, to identify where the main features of the Baths lay, and for a while I was transported back among my friends of yesteryear, enjoying our young lives to the full, in the waters of old 'Dovey'.

 

Today there remains no evidence that 'Dovey' ever existed and all the excitement and adventures experienced by thousands of youngsters in its waters are all just distant, or long forgotten, memories.

 

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Though not a scouser.For nearly 4 yrs I travelled by bus/motorbike past the baths.It was with sadness I saw the demise etc of the baths.we have had quite a few tustles with the council in sthelens over the years regards rebuilding,modernising our baths.we are very very lucky to have 2.At one time the modernisation plan was almost mothballed as golfers were also battling for sherdley park to be sorted as a municipal course.

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Unfortunately Prescot now doesn't have a baths, and is rapidly losing its identity to Knowsley.

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I did occasionally go to Dovecot in earlier days but preferred to go to Widnes on the Crosville later on because most mates lived in Rainhill. Then they opened Scotchbarn which was only up the road from our house and we spent every day there that summer. Couldnt believe our luck.

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There was another alternative in Prescot.

Maryville Road school had a pool where they utterly failed to teach me to swim, I could never see the entertainment value in being both cold and wet.

I remember other schools would sometimes use it as well.

 

I only ever went to Dovecot when we were forced to attend the Grammar school swimming gala.

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I remember encountering some "floaters" in Dovecot !!

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We had school swimmimg lessons at Maryville, it was only waist deep and we got about 15 minutes wet after walking there and having to walk back to school after, boring.

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I remember encountering some "floaters" in Dovecot !

 

It was only the 'fresh' ones that were a problem.

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I remember all the baths mentioned however the Crosville never went to Widnes from Rainhill,it was the red Widnes transport,which also went from Whiston by the Dragon. We used to go to Maryville road from Edmund Arrowsmith ,that was a journey up Scotchbarn Lane in the depths of winter. Widnes baths were always my favourite. Very rarely went to boundary road.Dovecot was brill for the diving boards.The best baths for miles were at Wigan,Amazing that.

Edited by gypsygeoff

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Yeah, the H2 or H3 it was, went past Widnes baths I'm sure...didn't it? waycon1.gif

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Lived 12 years in Widnes Ratty, but don't remember Crosville going there..but either side of those years they may have done.

Edited by gervassutti

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After thinking about it I do think I got the Crossie to Rainhill then caught a single decker red bus outside Loyola Hall.

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Those buses from Whiston , car park near the Green Dragon, were the Hospital Vistors' buses. The Rainhill terminus for the "normal" Widnes buses was the Victoria pub

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As gypsy says it was the Red Widnes bus that you caught (outside the Victoria Pub,Rainhill in my case) to the Widnes Baths.I'll never forget one time we'd persuaded one of our gang who couldn't swim to come with us assuring him he'd be swimming in no time ! Opening the paper we'd bought from May Lowes shop,the headlines said, "Boy drowns in six inches of water " ! We had a hell of a time preventing him from getting of that bus ! Unfortunately whilst at the baths we persuaded him to jump in at the shallow end and wouldn't you know it,his feet slipped on the bottom and he went under ! We managed to pull him out but he never came with us again and 'never' learned to swim ! Sorry to hear Dovey Baths has gone,surprised no one has mentioned the 'door stop' margarine on toast you could get from the cafe' or the embarrassment when those 'woollen' trunks came down when you dived in !

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I had a link to this group in a Facebook Group that had a thread that featured Dovey Baths - now in the ways of the inernet I cannot find it to link it back - nonetheless I have joined up and so I am making a recorsd and plan to connect it up if I see it again I think it was in The liverpool Hidden History Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/hiddenhistories/

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Did anyone get to see what they did with Lister Drive old baths. Used to take my nephew there for visits,walk through Fairfield Park first.

At that time they still had all the iron walkways like a balcony all around the edges and the pool wasnt sectioned off much. They had spiders and lizards too, fascinating place

 

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/whats-on/shopping/look-inside-lister-drive-old-10741684

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Went to Lister Drive baths a couple of times way back when you would see Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John down there.

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Gervasutty

 

I may be wrong here, but I seem to remember there being small glass observation panels on one side of the pool at Dovecot baths, anyone else remember these.?

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I was quite young when I went there, so don't recall. Was that the baths were you went in a single cubicle one door got changed and and walked through the opposite door to the pool?

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Thumpa Lumpa,

 

I have a vague recollection of a viewing window in the wall of the 10ft diving pool but can't be certain..it was a long time ago.

 

 

Ratty, that's correct. The 3 pools, diving, learners, and main pool were surrounded on 2 levels by single door changing cubicles. There were also rails completely surrounding the pools barring entrance except, as you recall, for a gap in the rails at the opposite side of the 'baths' from the entrance door, where a few steps upwards led to the pools..diving R, learners L, and forward for the main pool which had steps into the water at each corner and an opposite pair in the middle. (I can smell the chlorine)

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I also remember Dovey and getting changed on the seats under the clock. Always seemed to be busy especially on a Sunday morning when I think it closed at midday. The challenge was to be the last out of the pool. Then a quick change and up to the cafe for tea and toast to try and get some warmth inside us before getting the number 10 back to Prescot. Also went to the Silver Blades Ice rink in Old Swan (I think ) on a Saturday evening.

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Me too the blades, Saturday afternoon with a gang on the crossie

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Went to Dovecot baths with the school, as I could already swim was taught to dive from the springboard, thought I was the bees knees.  The Silver Blades was formerly the Casino Ice Rink as it was next to the Casino cinema at tihe junction of Prescot Road and Sheil Road.

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