THE LION SWIMMING CLUB

For People with Permanent Physical, Learning and Sensory Disabilities

swimming swimming for people with special needs swimming For People with Physical and Learning Disabilities
Application Form / Club Constititution

History of Lion Swimming Club.

Although officially formed in January 1959, the club had its roots in 1952 when the South East London branch of the Infantile Paralysis Fellowship started with sessions at Greenwich baths. As there were some very young members and the pool time granted to the IPF was quite late in the evening, one of the helpers (who worked at Eltham Baths) suggested that Woolwich Borough Council should be approached for the use of Eltham Baths on a Sunday morning - not then open to the public.

The request was granted for a trial period of three months with the proviso that people with disabilities other than those who had polio myelitis could be included. In September 1956, under the auspices of the IPF, sessions were started on Sunday mornings at Eltham Baths and members of the Woolwich Borough Council, doctors and other interested people visited to see how things were going. After the trial period the Council agreed that the club could continue to use the pool on Sunday mornings and it would be free of charge. Local councillors advised that affiliation be made to Social Services and that the current mayor of Woolwich would be asked to be president.

During the next two years the membership grew rapidly. Competitions were held within the club and against other swimming clubs for people with disabilities. A name was needed to be engraved on cups and medals and after much deliberation the name Lion was chosen. Lions were the basis of the Woolwich coat of arms and it showed the strong spirit of the members. Apart from swimming galas there were parties and outings, usually to the seaside, and families were always welcome. There was an amicable break from the IPF and the formation of the independent Lion Swimming Club took place in January 1959.

The club soon realised that its members needed a pool that was heated to a much higher temperature than normal. In 1963 the committee decided to set up a charity to raise funds for a small heated pool to be built within the South East London or North West Kent area. Some time later local councillors agreed to help fund the new pool. A new pool was built to the club's specifications at Eltham Pools. On 27 March 1965 the hydro pool was officially opened by Woolwich Borough Council.

In January 2008 there was a change of venue for the Club when Eltham Pools were closed and replaced by a new leisure centre - The Eltham Centre in Archery Road.
For more info please contact: David on 020 8855 4277 or Liz on 07793 282088. Alternatively, email us.
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