Title ID 556Collection ID1245
Title[Sports Stadium; Opening of the SS Brighton Swimming Pool]
Date29 July 1934
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent Artist/Film-makerNon-fiction
KeywordsBoats Ceremonies Leisure Time Activities Play Recreational Facilities Swimming
RegionalBrighton and Hove East Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionNot known
ParticipantsMayoress Miss Margaret Hardy J.P.; Earl Howe
Format16mm Black & White Silent
Duration4 min.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A film commemorating the opening ceremony and inaugural swim in Brighton’s new indoor pool. Intertitles introduce each scene.


“S.S. Brighton opened by Earl Howe with the Shiverers Swimming Club and the band of Mile Oak School.” “S.S. Brighton is the finest swimming stadium in the world.” The opening titles are followed by general views of the indoor swimming pool, spectators take their seats on the balcony. Earl Howe and the mayoress walk in and take their places alongside the pool. Earl Howe makes a speech, a press photographer in the background photographs him. Several men lower the model ship SS Brighton into the pool and Earl Howe pushes it off. A swimmer tows the ship behind him across the pool. “The Shiverers Military Band. (The band of Mile Oak School) leads in the swimmers.” The band march in, barefoot, alongside the pool followed by members of the swimming club. The swimmers line up along the side of the pool. The band marches past led by a young boy drum major dressed in a sailor outfit. Groups of young children dance into the pool area, acting as horse and trainer and pausing at the poolside. A man conducts the band from atop the pool’s slide. The youngsters dive in and demonstrate their swimming abilities. Scenes of the busy pool: people playing with a huge (Bukta) ball, attempting to climb over it using the ladders attached to it. Others play on lilos, on the slide and dive from the side and diving boards. "Are you a Shiverer?".


A still from [Sports Stadium. Opening of the SS Brighton Swimming Pool] (1934) - boy swimming

Contextual information

It is not known who the film-maker was, although it possible that he/she may have had a connection with either the Mile Oak School Band or the Shiverers Swimming Club. The model boat, which appears in the film, was based on the Queen Mary, and is said to have been anchored in the middle of the pool at the end of the day and floodlit. This record of the SS Brighton as a swimming pool is particularly pertinent as it was turned into an ice rink just two years later; the result of two very hot summers keeping people outdoors and rendering the swimming pool unprofitable and unsustainable. The building was later used as a conference centre before eventually being demolished in 1965.

The exterior of the 1930s building is captured in the professionally-made film Brighton (ca. 1957) whilst an amateur film-maker records an ice-show in the converted building in [Ice Rink Show; Sleeping Beauty on Ice] (December 1960).

Screen Archive South East houses numerous films which demonstrate the popularity of swimming in the South East during the 1930s, in lidos, private pools and the sea. The popularity of the sport in Walton-on-Thames is captured in [A 'Capitol' Newsreel by Clifford Spain III] (1927 - 1934) at a swimming gala on the River Thames and the opening of a new pavilion for the Walton Swimming Club.

Related titles

Related resources


Brighton History Centre records at The Keep

“Brighton History Centre holds an extensive range of material for the study of Brighton's history and culture, both past and present.” The collection includes newspapers and periodicals for Brighton and the region; books and pamphlets on Brighton; an extensive collection of photographs, postcards and slides, maps; Brighton and Sussex ephemera, including theatre, cinema and sporting programmes, scrapbooks and posters; oral histories of local people. A catalogue listing further references and resources accompanies a selection of films about Brighton and Hove (from Screen Archive South East’s collection) is available online from The Keep.

Other Resources

Reel Life

An extract of this film appears on the Reel Life DVD, available to view at Higher and Further Education college libraries, schools’ libraries, local libraries and record offices.


Brighton in Pictures

The Brighton History Centre image and photography collections are now held at The Keep. A selection of photographs from the collection is searchable on The Keep website and by request from, Brighton and Hove Museums.

Brighton & Hove Museums

My Brighton and Hove

Described as “a living history of Brighton and Hove”, this web resource gathers memories, photographs, knowledge and opinions about the city.