Dunbar the A1 Resort

Part 2 The Ladies Pool

The burgh council took positive steps to encourage the development of Dunbar as a resort. In 1927 they took a decision to develop the Ladies’s pool  to resemble that at Scarborough. They started by constructing the kiddies’ paddling pool and the boating pond in 1928 and the Dunbar Safety pool was completed  by 15th June 1929. This was followed by the Pool Ballroom in 1930/1.

This development aroused immense interest and train excursions came from Glasgow to see it. Jean Macmillan who later came to live in Dunbar told me that she and her future husband did it she thought about 1936. She told me the details of the expedition. The train left Glasgow at 4 30 pm with a return fare of 3/6. The total cost of the expedition was  under 5/- per person. They walked to Westbarns and took the bus back to Dunbar for a fare of 2d [old pence 240 to the £1] had a fish tea for 1/- at Togneri’s and got the train back to Glasgow. She later campaigned to save the pool. The pool became the main focus of entertainment in Dunbar until 1975.

It had a lucky escape in 1940.At that early stage in the war The Germans were not attacking civilian targets. Suddenly a German Heinkel He 111 followed by a Spitfire flew over the pool .The pool was crowded with OCTU cadets [165 Officer Cadet Training Unit] which had been established that year. Fortunately, they were in bathing kit and not in uniform. No bomb was dropped, and the Heinkel was brought down by the Spitfire at Cockburnspath . Cadets and pool were saved. A film of the early days of the OCTU was taken by cadet and it is held by the History Society.

The Council appointed an entertainment and publicity officer before the war, and they continued until the end of the burgh period to promote an extensive programme of entertainment. In its final years the council had two active Entertainment and Publicity Officers Cairns Boston arrived in that role in 1963. Cairns Boston who among other things organised a large exhibition in the Victoria Ballroom [demolished 1990] and then Len Abbey (LG Abbey Entertainment) from 1969. He remained in the employment of the new District Council but was moved to Musselburgh and was made responsible for the whole District. His assistant Mrs Jean Foster remained in Dunbar.

They arranged for events at the pool and elsewhere with Diving competitions Swimming Galas, Beauty competitions, Celebrity appearances and the like. All Drawing huge crowds. Eric Bradbury was a very capable pond master who was killed in a car accident in 1965.He was replaced by Bill Field who was already working at the pool and then by Bob Shrive. John Bradbury, Eric’s son, was the final pond master. The District Council which took it over in 1975 found it had serious problems It needed massive repair. The traders, as volunteers took it over in 1979. Problems continued and despite huge efforts, to raise money it had to close and was demolished in 1985.