Story: Swimming

Salt water swimming baths, 1881

Salt water swimming baths, 1881

These salt water swimming baths opened in 1881 on Auckland's Customs Street West. They sat on the harbour's edge, and valves at the end of the pool allowed the tides to refresh the water. The baths were built partly because people were swimming publicly along the foreshore, and causing offence by their state of undress. Enclosed baths protected the public from such sights, and separate opening times for women and men allowed segregated bathing. Gradually more public swimming pools were built in Auckland. In 1914, after declining patronage, the Customs Street West baths closed.

Using this item

Auckland City Libraries - Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Reference: 4-906
Photograph by James D. Richardson

Permission of Auckland City Libraries Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

John McBeth, 'Swimming - Swimming for recreation and sport', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 May 2022)

Story by John McBeth, published 5 Sep 2013, updated 27 Jan 2015