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Guinea Gap Baths in Seacombe is the oldest pool on the Wirral and celebrated its 100th Birthday on Monday 7th April last year.

Seacombe promenade was the third stage linking Seacombe and New Brighton by one long continuous promenade. Before the promenade was built (1901), there was a break in the riverbank known to locals as "Guinea Gap".This was a popular place for anyone wishing to go for a swim as it was free from dangerous currents that lurk in the river itself. It was in this place that Seacombe and Egremont Swimming Club was founded back in 1890, they held meetings and competitions there as often as possible. The name of the club was later changed to Wallasey Swimming Club in 1913 and has remained as that since.

The area where Guinea Gap Baths now stands was bought by the council in 1905. Originally there were four houses on this site, these buildings where demolished and the construction of Guinea Gap Baths began in 1906. Guinea Gap Baths where opened by Mr.T.V.Burrows, Chairman of the Health Committee on the 7th April 1908.

For many years this was a favourite local swimming venue and family meeting place, this elegant Edwardian building has graced the Mersey riverbank and still does today instead of what could have been (maybe those nasty "luxury flats" that nobody likes). Almost all local people share memories of learning to swim there, of taking their children to be taught how to swim there, of joining a swimming club there, or of taking part in their first swimming gala there.

There are various rumours as to how Guinea Gap received it’s name, the most popular theory being an account of the amount of golden guineas from the reign of William III and others found by workmen around 1849 (possibly a pirate's treasure, wouldnt that be an exciting thought!). Another explanation for the name "Guinea Gap" comes from the word "Gyn" meaning "gap in the cliffs"; a small river once ran into the Mersey from this point.

Since 1908, Guinea Gap Baths has enjoyed a colourful history. It has miraculously survived two world wars and during World War I even served as a rehabilitation hospital for the wounded soldiers being cared for at a makeshift hospital in Wallasey Town Hall. That is one of the things we at Wallasey Swimming Club are most proud of.

Guinea Gap originally had sea water in it rather than the chlorinate water pools have today. Its supply of sea water was drawn from the Mersey estuary. This fact may have been the key to the mystery that grew up around the baths. Although there were other saltwater pools, Guinea Gap alone became famous throughout the country for the huge number of national and international swimming records broken there. Excellent coaching and supreme effort from all the swimmers led to these record breaking results. Between 1908 and 1957 no fewer than 205 world and national swimming records were achieved at Guinea Gap Baths.

Believe it or not, Guinea Gap Baths has also been a temporary home for some dolphins. If you don't believe it, just scroll down to the bottom of this page to see the video!

In 1990 Guinea Gap underwent an ambitious refurbishment. The Gala Pool was converted into a freshwater leisure pool for family swimming. A Riverside Conservatory was also added, where you can sit and enjoy the views over the Mersey to Liverpool, while watching your children having fun in the pool, or perhaps just sit and drink a cup of coffee after a nice relaxing swim. The 25yard Training Pool was upgraded and extended to 25 metres, this was to improve facilities for serious swimmers wishing to compete and those of special needs alike. A new Sauna and Fitness Suite was created to replace the old sauna, originally built in an old air raid shelter. (this isnt really history but Guinea Gap has recently bought a new set of gym equipment again so it has all the up to date equipment needed for a good work out.)

All of us here from Wallasey Swimming Club are proud of our home pool and of the services it has brought to so many over its 100 years. May the Baths continue servicing the community for maybe more years.

This is our proof that Guinea Gap Baths has also been home to dolphins as well as Wallasey swimming club (and many other clubs).