Coate Water diving board gains listed status
5:30am Saturday 30th November 2013 in News
By Dominic Gilbert
The diving board at Coate Water
THE derelict diving platform at Coate Water has been listed by English Heritage as a Grade II structure, as it is one of only four of its type in the country.
English Heritage chose the structure after recommendations from Swindon Council’s conservation department, and agreed to list it due to its unique location and historical interest.
The board at Coate Water was first constructed out of wood in 1922. The platform was later replaced with the current concrete diving stage, designed by JBL Thompson in 1935.
It was officially opened by mayor Reuben George, who took the first dive from the board, and took so long to resurface onlookers feared he had drowned.
Campaigners and conservationists in Swindon have welcomed the move. Sophie Hart, 35, of north Swindon, has been pushing for the platform to be restored.
“I am very excited that this has gone ahead,” she said. “I think it is great and it will encourage the possibility of getting funding to get it restored.”
Sophie is concerned the listed status may make renovations difficult, but is happy for the platform to be recognised.
“With listings we have got a double-edged sword, because it makes it awkward to get it restored, but the attention it generates makes funding more likely,” she said.
“I would not want to change it too much. I think it could be incorporated into certain things, like a viewing platform, but if you changed it it would cease to be the Art Deco piece it is now.
“I know the Mechanics’ Institute have been looking at funding for the boards to be waterproofed, so it would be great if that could go ahead.
“I think the listing demonstrates that people regard Coate Water as a significant part of our history.”
Daniel Rose, the chairman of the Mechanic’s Institution Trust, said: “This is a positive move.
“Coate Water is an extremely popular place in Swindon, and there are a lot of memories associated with the platform.
“I would hope this would create some energy to get it restored. It certainly needs celebrating more than it is at the moment.” “The whole history of Coate Water is an incredibly important one, and the fact it now has a listed structure may give it the attention it deserves.
“Hopefully there will now be a plan put in place for restoring it. English Heritage’s designation team leader for the west, Deborah Williams, said: “This architecturally striking diving platform, dating from a period of great enthusiasm for diving following its introduction in the 1904 Olympic Games, is rare in a national context and possesses historic and architectural interest worthy of listing at Grade II. ”
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