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 its 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.