History of the Club
Formed in 1903 Beccles Kingfishers were originally called Beccles Wednesday and the Club was founded mainly by the shop keepers in Beccles.
Speaking at the Golden Jubilee dinner held in the Kings Head Hotel on 21st November 1953, Mr J W Wilson revealed that the shopkeepers had felt that they would like to do something on their afternoon off during the summer and they had a meeting at which he proposed the formation of a club. The motion was passed unanimously – and started with about 25 members, swimming in the River Waveney, in a part that was cordoned off and set aside for bathing. The chosen part of the river was enclosed with a post and plank fence – a gap below the fence allowed the tidal flow to change the depth of the water. The form of the bathing place can still be seen as a semi circular formation in Pudding Moor which is now a basin for mooring cruisers.
An actual outdoor actual bathing area was formed– with more experienced swimmers still being able to swim through to the River Waveney. Diving boards of differing heights were positioned over the deep end of the pool – with a short spring board half way along the side. The swimming club issued swimming certificates for completion of distance swimming – with a boat available to accompany the swimmers to make sure that could be rescued if need be.
In 1959 a new outdoor swimming pool was built – and was extended in 1963 to give a pool for juniors and toddlers too. During all of these changes the swimming club continued to teach locals to swim although heating was not installed until 1976. Parents of children learning to swim sheltered from the wind, rain and even snow by standing inside the changing rooms. When a child could swim well enough to go into the adult pool this would be made a celebration for the whole family.
When an indoor pool was suggested for Waveney District lobbying was strong in Beccles – but the amenity was unfortunately sited at Bungay in 1990 when the Bungay option won by 1 vote. Beccles Kingfishers Swimming club therefore moved to the new pool in 1991 so that it could make use of warm water all year round, whilst continuing to teach local children and adults to swim and to improve.