Broomhill pool 1939

Heritage Open Days 2021: Take the Broomhill Pool, Ipswich photo tour at

Photo Credit: Marion Little.
Marion writes that the photo is of her Mum, “Sylvia Richardson at the time of the photo, later Sylvia Brooks. Sylvia was a good swimmer, having learned, aged three when she fell in the mill stream at Holbrook Mill where the family lived in the 1920s.

When she was about 10 she jumped into Ipswich Docks to rescue a young boy who had fallen in. I know she went to Broomhill a lot in the months before the war, and wonder if this photo was taken by her boyfriend (later her husband) as he kept this photo with him during the war. I know they often went to Broomhill together, walking from Spring Road where they lived near each other.

I was born in the 1950s and Mum frequently took me to Broomhill for the day, queuing to get in, using the baskets for our clothes and shoes, walking through the cold shower/foot bath. Then having to go out at lunchtime and queue all over again! Although she was a strong swimmer (I could not keep up) I never knew her to dive from any of the boards, so maybe she didn’t.

We always sat in the same spot on the concrete, to eat our picnic, and bought a cup of tea from the buffet. When she was in her 70’s we used to sit on the seated area, and only stayed for one session, but that was the only concession to her age!”

Sylvia lived to a great age of 97 and died just before Christmas 2020.