PLANS for a state-of-the-art swimming pool have prompted Winsford historians to take a trip down memory lane.

Winsford and District History Society has trawled its archives to turn up some fascinating facts about the town's leisure history.

The first Winsford Baths Hall, built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887, was funded by Sir Joseph Verdin and his brother, William H Verdin.

Built with timber in case of subsidence, the 112ft by 34ft baths was situated in the Old Market Place on Cross' Dockyard, now part of the marina site.

Local brine was used for the pool with supposedly health-promoting qualities, and its opening was marked with a torchlit procession from Litter Lane to Highfield House, the home of Sir Joseph Verdin.

Sadly the baths was destroyed by fire in 1917 and when the old fire station across the road suffered a similar fate it was rebuilt on the site of the baths.

A huge fundraising effort was mounted by Winsford's population of 11,000 to build a new pool, but this did not materialise until 1934 when, at a cost of £879, the Verdin Open Air Brine Baths opened in Rilshaw Lane.

The then Winsford Urban Council plumped for the open-air option, saying bathers prefered healthful bathing in the open air and sunlight'.

While fine in the summer, sunlight was scarce for the rest of the year but nonetheless the pool proved to be a popular attraction and its opening was marked with a massive four-day celebration.

The third and present baths dates from December 1, 1974, and was officially opened by Clr Albert Lowe, the first-ever chairman of what was then Vale Royal District Council.