Construction and early years

The evolution of Wotton Pool has occurred over many years. The construction of the pool began in 1959 by a group of pupils and teachers from Wotton-under-Edge county Secondary School, and some local engineers. Their motivation for building the pool was educational: the curriculum included handicraft and constructional skills, and the pool became a project in which the whole school invested their enthusiasm and optimism.

The pool was first opened in 1961

The full details of the construction of the pool have been recorded in a written report, which can be accessed from the Construction report menu item as can some construction photographs. More modern views can be seen in our Gallery. Outdoor pools are often excruciatingly cold in England, and Wotton Pool was no exception. Despite this, it’s popularity in the community grew, and the pool thrived. In the 1970’s a group of skilled engineers worked with the local authority to develop a heating system. The amount of energy required to heat such a mass of water is huge. Both gas and electricity were considered too expensive for the job; instead the economical, environmentally friendly energy from the sun was chosen to do the job. The solar panel they designed and built is nothing like that you see on Grand Designs.

It had a surface area of 160 m2 and was made from a system of plastic pipes covered by a black asphalt surface to absorb the energy from the sun. The water was pumped through the filter and divided between these pipes. Like all solar panels, the heating potential of the system varies with the weather, but in midsummer the heat output was measured and confirmed a power delivery of 60kW. Unfortunately this ingenious invention has suffered from ageing and the plastic pipe joints eventually began to leak and we were adding as much cold water make-up as we were getting heat into the pool. After 30 years of sterling service and Megawatt hours of saved energy the panel was decommissioned.
However in 2014 some solar heating was re-installed to the pool using  five donated vacuum tube panels.  This at noon on a June day can provide about 7kW, which supplements the off-peak electric heater.  The climate of Britain means that generally wind, rain and cold days are expected throughout the summer time. 

Interviews with Fred Dimery

In the excitement in the lead up to the 2015 season, BBC Radio Gloucestershire interviewed Fred Dimery, one of the teachers who worked on the original build in the 50s. With their permission, we present the interviews below.