Southampton has enjoyed a few swimming baths over the years - although they have not been without problems - such as when it cost £8,000 to change some lightbulbs!

Swimming baths first opened in Southampton 132 years ago, addressing the need for year-round facilities that the seasonal lido could not cater for.

The indoor baths, constructed by George Brinton, were next to the outdoor lido along Western Esplanade, facing Weymouth Terrace - where the National Express coach station can now be found today.

Their lifespan ended in the 1960s when the construction of new docks required their demolition.

On a bright spring morning in 1962, the grand opening of the state-of-the-art Southampton Central Baths took place in front of a crowd of more than 1,000 enthusiastic swimmers and guests.

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The honour of cutting the ribbon on March 24, fell to the esteemed mayor, Alderman Gladys Barker, marking a momentous occasion for the town.

The event continued in the foyer as a special plaque was revealed before diving ace Tony Kitcher christened the pool with a one-and-a-half somersault dive with full twist.

Standing out among other pools across the nation at that time was a remarkable feature that truly captured everyone's attention - the ability to view swimmers from beneath the water's surface.

The incredible spectacle was possible thanks to the presence of seven 1.5-inch glass panels, designed to endure pressures of up to 5,000lb, creating an aquarium-like experience for visitors in the foyer.

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As swimmers queued to get in, their anticipation grew as they observed others joyfully playing in the large Olympic pool, envisioning the fun that awaited them.

The pool was larger than that of the previous central baths, and one of only four in the country big enough to host swimming and games up to international standard.

It was hoped this would be a major attraction for both swimmers and event organisers.

The new baths enjoyed tremendous success during the first years of its opening.

Final attendance figures for 1962-63 showed that 461,213 people attended - well over 80,000 more than were originally forecasted.

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But two decades later, things were very different.

In response to financial losses, the Southampton Central Baths underwent a significant transformation in 1987, resulting in the birth of Centre 2000 through a major revamp and rebranding process.

Following the renovation, a new water slide costing £500,000 was added with the aim of attracting more swimmers and supporting an increase in admission fees.

Sure enough, attendance doubled and figures were up 75 per cent by the end of the year.

Opened to the public in June of 1999, a state-of-the-art swimming and diving facility costing £10 million greeted visitors with an impressive laser and diving performance.

Named The Quays - The Eddie Read Swimming and Diving Complex, the newly established facility featured a variety of amenities including a recreational pool, an eight-lane, 25-meter swimming pool, a diving tank, health centre, and a fitness suite.

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Unlike the previous baths which were primarily for swimming, the Quays was designed with diving in mind. This focus attracted national diving competitions and helped establish it as a key training centre.

The idea for the pool belonged to former leisure boss Eddie Read, who died before he could see his dream fulfilled. But the pool was originally named after him, and its opening was an emotional moment for wife Maureen and family.

The £10 million complex was paid for with a £6 million donation from the Sports Lottery, plus donations from the city's Community Health Services NHS Trust.

The pool made the headlines a few years later after the light bulbs burnt out and there was no easy way to replace them.

Bosses of the complex were weighing up the expensive options of draining the pool and erecting 20m of scaffolding, which was estimated to cost as much as £30,000, or propping up the moveable diving pool floor to bear the weight of the scaffolding - an engineering nightmare.

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The project faced delays due to cost and logistical issues, causing a pause of several months. Throughout this period, the lights gradually flickered and died across the ceiling, plunging the pool into darkness

Then Southampton firm Finest Access Services stepped in with an ingenious solution.

They built a support structure that spanned the width of the pool allowing a workman to climb up and change the bulbs. The scaffold was on wheels so it could be moved up and down the pool, allowing all the bulbs to be replaced.

The best bit is the solution cost just £8,000, saving the city council around £22,000.

And this wasn't the only design fault uncovered in the early years.

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The city's new complex was due to host its first top sporting event with the UK's Winter National Diving Championships in February 2000.

But the event had to be moved to Sheffield because the ten-metre platform board was discovered to have been one metre too narrow for Olympic synchronised diving.