ONE of Britain's oldest dive schools, which is based in Purbeck, celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

Divers Down was started on Swanage Pier in 1958.

To mark the historic milestone, the club wants to build an archive of photos and reminiscences about diving on and around Swanage Pier.

Pat Collins, co-owner of Divers Down, said: "We are very proud to be carrying on the tradition of running a dive school and business on Swanage Pier.

"Divers Down was set up by Bob and Dennis Wright in 1958 and was instrumental in establishing Swanage Pier as the home of British diving.

"Over the next few months we’re going to be working with the local dive club, the Isle of Purbeck Sub Aqua Club (IPSAC), to collect photographs and memories about diving over the last sixty years.

"It would be really fantastic if we could collect one hundred photos to put into the archive."

Chris Dunkerly, chairman of the IPSAC, said his club grew out of Divers Down, and some original members are still involved.

"Sadly, in the last two years we've lost two of the early members," said Chris. "Not only did we lose two friends, we also lost their knowledge and experiences.

"This project will help redress this and keep alive the history of the early days of British diving.

"The plan is to collect an archive that will be put into a time capsule on Swanage Pier."

To help collect photos the IPSAC has established a group on Facebook called 'Their Memories Are Our History'.

Anyone who has any photographs or memories of diving at Swanage Pier is invited to share them with the project.

Divers Down was established on Swanage Pier by Bob and Dennis Wright.

The business is, now owned by Pete Williams and Pat Collins, has three catamarans called Swanage Diver, Skua and Spike.

These boats take up to a dozen divers and operate throughout the summer months.

People can share their memories by emailing Divers Down on or IPSAC on

Alternatively they can be shared on the Facebook page -