Hampstead pool celebrates centenary

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Hampstead School acting principal Claudine Campbell (left) and board chair Dayle Prichard sit pool side of the 100-year-old pool.

Hampstead School’s swimming pool is celebrating 100 years this year.

The pool is the last school pool in use in Ashburton town, and has remained almost the same as when it was built a century ago.

Over the years the pool has been a diving pool and was once heated by diesel.

Hampstead School board chair Dayle Prichard said the pool had recently been filled, slightly later in the year than usual.

“We used to fill it around the end of November but with the weather and other things, it worked out better to open it this term,” he said.

Taking care of the pool runs in the Prichard family; Dayle’s father Evan was in charge of the pool when Dayle was a kid.

Hampstead School acting principal Claudine Campbell said Evan still looks out for the pool.

“He comes down on his bike and checks out what is going on, he helped fill it the other day, he’s been involved for a long time.”

The Hampstead memorial gates at the front of the pool taken around 1922. Ashburton Museum 04.2006.0076e

The Mid Canterbury children’s triathlon was held at the pool before covid. “It has been here for a number of years, so the kids would do two lengths of the pool before jumping on their bikes, all the Mid Canterbury schools would come for that,” Claudine said.

Only the school can use the pool currently, and with the covid situation it is a challenge to plan for any public open days.

“Because it is 100 years we were planning on having a few open weekends and days but obviously we need to see how things are going,” Dayle said.

Claudine said it was a nice start to the year for the school’s kids, “they can bring their togs and it’s one thing we can do in the covid conditions, it’s nice we can keep that going.

“From the schools perspective, we definitely couldn’t do it without the pool committee and their families that come along and work hard to get it filled, cleaned and maintained,” she said.

~ By Daniel Tobin