History of Levin Coronation Baths - Fundraising at Carnival

Levin’s now demolished Coronation Baths proved something of a fund raiser for the community soon after the turn of the century.

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In 1917 a juvenile swimming carnival was held at the baths and £10 was raised.  The money was donated to the Red Cross. 

Five years earlier in 1912, the first series for the Bennie Cup (architect for the building of the baths) was run.  The competition for a 25 yards (22m) resulted in Coppen 3 seconds handicap and Scott 4 seconds tying for first with A. Prouse third on 4 seconds. 

The baths were emptied and refilled with water once a week for hygienic purposes. 

Hand rails had been fitted around the edges of the bath, in the original construction. 

The first dressing shed was on the east side with another shed on the north-east corner. 

Sometime later another dressing shed was built on the west side at the northern end. 

In 1920 Mr Daniels the caretaker had his wages raised to £7 ($14) a month during the season. 

The council decided to have mixed bathing twice a week but this is doubtful as in the next year it was decided to have it only once a week from 2.15 – 3.30pm.  Wednesday afternoon was the weekly half holiday for the business area workers. 

In 1922 there were complaints of bad language being used, so a notice was put up stating that those swearing would be expelled. 

Senior members were asked to report such people to the caretaker. 

A large town Queen Carnival was held.  The Sport Queen committee staged a swimming carnival for funds. 

Records of 1924 show that the swimming club had been holding three carnivals a year for many years.  Also weekly evening competitions were held.  One in 1924 of four events results in Clive Hobson 7 seconds first 37 and 1/5, I Scoon 5 seconds second and S Parson 8 seconds third in the men’s 50 yards (45m) handicap event. 

In the girls’ race the results were K.Mellon, J.Hobson and J.Greggan. 

The boys’ race 50 yards (45m) resulted in C.Hobson first, L. George second and R.Calvert third. 

The Levin District High School held an annual carnival in 1924 the results of the Robertson Shield (a team competition for the district schools: Mr Robertson was the MP, local electorate); Levin boys first, Levin girls 2nd and Ohau third. 

The borough council discussed seating for spectators in the early 1920s.  Tenders called were too high so they were not built.  Later the Levin School carnival committee offered £25 ($50) if the council provided the same.  This was accepted and tiered seating was built on part of the western side. 

Mr Howard Jones, a school teacher took a great interest in swimming during his long residence in Levin. He taught a very great number, probably into the thousands, of children to swim. 

Mr D.S. MacKenzie gave every child who could swim the width of the baths, two shillings and six pence (25c) for many years.  This was an immense amount of money then in the 1920-30s.  Equivalent to 25 good sized ice creams or 50 half-penny chew bars. 

A pay office was built at the bottom entrance to the baths, but many children crawled past the office unseen and got a free swim. 

Segregated bathing ceased during the 1920s.  Children were still segregated, but adults were allowed mixed swims after 5pm.

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History of Levin Coronation Baths - Fundraising at Carnival

Creator:Corrie Swanwick
Creation date:30/05/1990
Publisher:The News
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License
History of Levin Coronation Baths - Fundraising at Carnival by Pippa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License