Stokewood Leisure Centre is marking its 85th birthday with 85p swimming sessions over the weekend of Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 July 2015.

The centre is a bustling community hub with over 260,000 visits each year. Its learn to swim programme is one of the busiest in the region with more than 600 people learning to swim each week.  Nearly 3,000 members and pay-as-you-go customers are clocking up more than 85,000 gym visits and more than 52,000 fitness studio sessions a year.

The centre opened in 1930 and quickly became popular with the local community; its slipper baths providing a good soak for 6 old pence a time.

Stokewood has seen many changes in its 85-year history. A sprung dance floor was placed over the pool in winter for Saturday night dancing, and indoor bowling, boxing and a putting green were added. The centre closed during World War II and the building protected with sandbags and blast-proof doors, to provide an emergency first aid and gas decontamination centre. The upper building became a rest centre for aid victims and the pool water was set aside for emergencies attended by the local fire brigade.

When the war ended, it was business as usual, but in 1967 a fire swept through the building and closed it for a year. It was again threatened with closure in 1989 but campaigners petitioned and the Council carried out a refurbishment programme to give it a new lease of life.

In 2009, more health and fitness facilities were introduced, to include a new spin studio and gym extension to meet growing demand.

Bournemouth Borough Council transferred the management of Stokewood Leisure Centre in 2010 to BH Live, a partnership that continues to encourage more people to join a growing choice of activity programmes and facilities.

Stokewood earned Quest Excellence accreditation in 2014 and is highly rated by the industry for performance and customer satisfaction.

Stokewood Leisure Centre is a wonderful place and it is fascinating to look back over the past 85 years,says Mike Lyons, Director of Leisure Facilities for BH Live. Still very much loved and well-attended by the local community, we are always looking for ways to make things even better through new classes, lessons and investment. Many people living with health issues attend regular activity sessions at Stokewood Leisure Centre and have told us how much better they feel. This is, after all, what our we and centres are all about.

 Visit to find out more about activities at the centre.


For more information, please contact:

Elizabeth Symmons, PR & Corporate Communications Executive E: T: (01202) 451866

Notes to Editors:

What else happened in 1930? (source Wikipedia)

1 February        The Times publishes its first crossword.[1]

March               Fitness organisation the Women’s League of Health and Beauty set up by Mary Bagot Stack; by 1939 it had 100,000 members.[2]

29 July             British airship R100 sets out for a successful 78-hour passage to Canada.

16 August         The first British Empire Games are held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.[4]

25 August         Sean Connery, actor born

27 July              Shirley Williams, Baroness Williams of Crosby, co-founder of the Social Democratic Party

13 February       Ronald Stretton, track cyclist born (died 2012)

28 October        Bernie Ecclestone, auto racing tycoon born

10 October        Harold Pinter, playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (died 2008)

Arthur Ransome’s children’s novel Swallows and Amazons.

Agatha Christie’s first Miss Marple novel, The Murder at the Vicarage.

About Stokewood Leisure Centre

Stokewood Leisure Centre is managed and operated by BH Live in partnership with Bournemouth Borough Council. This community leisure facility, in the Winton/Charminster area of Bournemouth, started out as a public baths in 1930.

It now has a 22.8-metre swimming pool, sauna, an aerobics studio running 60 weekly fitness classes, a spin studio and gym with personal training. The centre is home to local sports clubs for triathlon, water polo, lifeguard training, karate and other activities.

Popular for pool parties, swimming lessons with Bournemouth Swimming Academy and local schools, the centre attracts over 5,000 visits a week. Stokewood Leisure Centre is Quest-accredited and enjoys excellent relationships with local community groups, Bournemouth University, colleges and local schools.

About BH Live

BH Live is the South Coast’s leading operator of leisure and event venues – a social enterprise that designs and builds engaging experiences to inspire people and enrich lives.

With over 2.5 million visits a year and over £31 million turnover, the organisation is changing lives – placing it at the heart of the UK’s growing social economy.

In 2013/14, BH Live hosted 423 shows, sold over half a million cultural, sporting and entertainment tickets, clocked up 1.8 million leisure centre visits and welcomed 88,000 conference and exhibition delegates which contributed over £45 million to the local economy.

For more visit