Swimming club’s popularity spelt end for water polo team

The 1960 Northsea Swimming Club water polo team
The 1960 Northsea Swimming Club water polo team
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The recent picture of the long-gone Stamshaw Swimming Pond in Portsmouth intrigued John Gardner.

It opened 100 years ago this month at the end of Gruneisen Road, but was superseded by the opening of Hilsea Lido in 1935 and was subsequently demolished.

A very early, rare postcard of the pond, judging by the clothes, taken before the First World War, perhaps in 1912.  Picture courtesy Maggie Ballard

A very early, rare postcard of the pond, judging by the clothes, taken before the First World War, perhaps in 1912. Picture courtesy Maggie Ballard

John does not remember the pool, but was once the secretary of Northsea Swimming Club which later became Portsmouth Northsea SC,

It was a post he held from the late 1950s for 10 years and he says: ‘I seem to remember notes and literature relating to a swimming pool in Stamshaw.

‘I also have a vague recollection of The Northsea Arms being in the same area and in all probability this was the origin of the swimming club.’

He says he joined the swimming club primarily to play water polo about 1948.

‘At that time members of the senior team were Jack Armstrong, Alf Griffin, Norman Kewell, ‘Lofty’ Easthope, Charlie Hubbard, George Flowers and Gerry Hackett.

‘I eventually took over in goal from Lofty and was also the Water Polo Secretary until that section of the club was closed because of the rise in popularity of swimming and thus a need for more use of the pool for training.’

His picture shows the 1960 water polo team. Back row (l to r): Lionel Crook, Peter Gorvin, Peter Davenport, Robin Wren.

Front: ‘Paddy’ Hayes, John Tambling, John ‘Gus’ Gardner, Alan Gorvin.

The team were runners-up in the Hampshire league and winners of four knock-out tournaments – The Northsea Challenge Cup, Ringwood SC Frampton Cup, Portsmouth Dockyard SC W S Rowe Trophy and the Southampton SC Orba Cup.