The Jubilee Pool, Penzance

Just before Christmas I visited the Jubilee Pool in Penzance and was really taken with the beautiful Art Deco design of the pool.  I was aware that funding had been found to restore the pool to its former glory following the devastating storms at the beginning of last year. The pool was opened in 1935 to mark the Silver Jubilee of King George V. Today, it is one of the few remaining 1930s lidos in the entire country.

I was very interested in the future of the pool so I contacted the Mayor of Penzance and asked if I might be given access to take pictures of the pool, as it is now, before the restoration work begins.

I was put in touch with a chap called James Hardy, Community Network Coordinator, who is overseeing and coordinating the work for Cornwall Council.  I told James what I wanted to do, to capture the pool as it is now and to follow the work as it progresses over the next 12 months or so.  The plan is that the pool will re-open in May 2016.

My request was discussed at a meeting two weeks ago with the contractors who are carrying out the work and the Friends of the Jubilee Pool who are busy raising money to match funding from central government.  I’m really pleased to say that I have been taken on as photographer for the entire project and I will be now be a regular visitor to the pool, cataloguing the work as it proceeds.

I visited the pool on Monday and met Ashley Snell, a geo-technical engineer, who is currently surveying the pool. During the storms of last winter that I mentioned earlier, the force of the sea was such that the pool was lifted and moved from its anchorage on the bedrock beneath.  It’s Ashley’s job to now carry out a survey to assess the full extent of the damage and to gather information on the rock the pool sits on.  On Monday, drilling equipment was craned in and the process of drilling bore holes at different points around the pool has begun.

Monday was a beautiful day with bright sunshine presenting a few challenges photographically, but also opportunities.  I’ve a lot of pictures to go through and will be posting a gallery of those images soon but in the meantime, here are a few of the images I’ve processed so far.  In the bright sunshine, looking at the pool, one could be forgiven for thinking just a lick of paint here and there would put things right.  However, the reality can be seen in the third photograph, the pool has buckled and twisted under the force of the sea, almost as if an earthquake had struck..

Jubilee Pool24mm f/11 1/200 sec. ISO-100

spaceJubileed Pool 270mm f/8 1/200 sec. ISO-100

spaceDamage to the Jubilee Pool in Penzance24mm f/13 1/160 sec. ISO-100

spaceAdrian Theze logo


36 responses

  1. Congratulations on being the official photographer. And I am so glad they are going ahead with the restoration, it would be a pity to lose such a lovely, historic landmark.

    February 12, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    • Thank you Jude. It would have been a real loss had the money not been forthcoming. After all, in the grand scheme of things a couple of million is peanuts. We’ve lost far too many pools like this one and I’m so glad the Jubilee pool has been saved. That said, part of the deal is that the friends of the Jubilee pool match funding. They’ve got quite a lot of money to raise yet. I’m hoping that some of my photographs, prints and cards, might help to raise a little at least..

      February 12, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      • I’m sure they will.

        February 12, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      • :-)

        February 13, 2015 at 11:41 am

  2. Stunningly beautiful, and well researched. Kudos on taking that extra step to find out.

    February 12, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    • Thank you very much Nicci! :-)

      February 12, 2015 at 10:06 pm

  3. Great shots and very interesting post.

    February 12, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    • Thank you Lou! :-)

      February 13, 2015 at 11:41 am

  4. Great photos, but really enjoyed the write up and history…

    February 12, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    • Thanks very much Randall. A landmark that certainly deserved to be saved!

      February 13, 2015 at 11:42 am

  5. It should be interesting and fun.

    February 13, 2015 at 12:50 am

    • Thank you Emilio. I’m looking forward to it!

      February 13, 2015 at 11:42 am

  6. doing good! I look forward to the progress.

    February 13, 2015 at 1:27 am

    • Thank you Andy!

      February 13, 2015 at 11:42 am

  7. Looking forward to thje series. M :-)

    February 13, 2015 at 1:33 am

    • Thank you very much!

      February 13, 2015 at 11:43 am

  8. I’d say Penzance is very fortunate that you had the vision for this project. What a great idea, Adrian, and great pictures. I’m really looking forward to seeing the transformation.

    February 13, 2015 at 3:27 am

    • Thank you Dave. It’s just really nice to have a photo project like this one. I’m going to have to really think about the best ways in which to photograph the pool. I’ve a lot of work to do! :-)

      February 13, 2015 at 11:48 am

  9. So serene ! Beautiful image !

    February 13, 2015 at 11:19 am

    • Thank you very much indeed! :-)

      February 13, 2015 at 11:43 am

  10. I admire your initiative and your commitment to this project; not all history worth preserving is centuries old. i look forward to more documentry, yet beautiful photos.

    February 13, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    • Thank you very much Bunty. It’s going to be a fun project!

      February 13, 2015 at 5:32 pm

  11. Wow, what a huge job for them and such an exciting project all concerned and how fortunate for Cornwall Council to have you on board!

    February 13, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    • Thank you Patti! You’re very kind! :-)

      February 13, 2015 at 5:32 pm

  12. It looks like a fantastic pool, but yes in need of some serious renovation. Congratulations with becoming the photographer for the whole project. That is really cool, and I look forward to seeing your pictures from the whole process.

    February 13, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    • Thank you very much indeed Otto! It’s going to be a cool project as you say! :-)

      February 14, 2015 at 9:18 am

  13. What an opportunity and what a great project! Good on you for making it happen. It’s incredibly satisfying being able to help a worthy cause with photography.

    February 14, 2015 at 10:38 am

    • Thank you Noeline. It’s a brilliant project to be involved in and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it develops. The refurbishment is due for completion in the spring of next year. I expect I’ll be visting most weeks. That’s going to add up to a lot of photos. I’m hoping to get some cards made in the next few weeks to help raise some funds. :-)

      February 14, 2015 at 10:45 pm

  14. Congrats in being selected as the photographer for the project. They’re very wise 😉 I’m looking forward to seeing the progression.

    February 14, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    • Thank you Edith. You’re too kind. I’m just so pleased to be involved with the project. Preserving this wonderful piece of art deco architecture is so very worthwhile! :-)

      February 14, 2015 at 10:47 pm

  15. Terrific. I wait with interest, for the photos so come.

    February 15, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    • Thank you Elena, I’m looking forward to reporting developments over the coming months! :-)

      February 15, 2015 at 2:41 pm

  16. What a fascinating project, Adrian! Beautiful images and I look forward to the process images too.

    March 1, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    • I’m delighted to be involved in the Jubilee Project Karen. It’s going to be really interesting seeing how things develop. Thank you for you comments, always very much appreciated! :-)

      March 2, 2015 at 6:18 pm

  17. Jane S.

    Dear Adrian,
    your pictures are amazing and you were really lucky with the weather :-)
    Swimming pool architecture fascinates me. But this is not just an ordinary pool, it’s a part of the history! The location is really nice and so close to the sea – I have never seen a place like this. Well, I should really visit the UK!
    It’s essential that the pool will be reconstructed and I am very curious about the updates. This awesome space deserves everything but being neglected. Although it has its charm like this, I am sure it will become a popular place after the renovation.

    March 9, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    • Dear Jane,

      Thank you very much for your comment. The Jubilee Pool really is very special. I feel very honoured to have been given the job of documenting the restoration of this wonderful piece of Art Deco architecture. Too many pools like this have not survived but, thanks to a lot of people who have done a tremendous job in ensuring that it will be saved from the accountants who only see figures and bottom lines and not beyond, there is a future and I’m sure the pool will once more become a very popular attraction in Penzance for both local people and for summer visitors.

      Best regards


      March 10, 2015 at 9:58 pm