WE have delved into the Daily Echo archives to bring you these pictures of when Bournemouth had a public swimming pool at the BIC.

Public swimming pools had been an attraction near Bournemouth seafront since 1838, when the first baths were opened at the Pier Approach. Over time the buildings were replaced and improved in 1887 and a third time in 1937.

Bournemouth Echo:

But by the early 1980s, plans were well advanced for a conference centre, including a swimming pool, on the West Cliff. It would be a fun pool rather than one suitable for competitions.

The baths on the Pier Approach closed in 1984, and on September 6 that year, the BIC officially opened.

The pool, with its artificial wave, was popular with both locals and tourists. And in 1986, Olympic swimmer Duncan Goodhew was at the BIC to open its new hydro-slide.

Bournemouth Echo:

But the success of the BIC meant the days of swimming in the conference centre were numbered.

Bournemouth Echo:

Events such as the Labour conference of 1999 – said to be Europe’s biggest political gathering up to that point – stretched its facilities to the limit. BIC bosses said the centre needed more exhibition space if it was to compete in the marketplace with big new conference centres.

Bournemouth Echo:

Many swimmers were unhappy, and the summer of 2003 saw a campaign under the slogan Save the Wave. Many believed that the BIC pool was meant to be a replacement for the old swimming baths and to provide wet weather facilities for the area.

Young people who used the pool lobbied the full council that July, but to no avail.

By 2004, a £22million upgrade of the BIC was underway. It meant a much bigger Windsor Hall, allowing for major tours by singing stars and comedians. And there was the extra exhibition space, with the Solent Hall standing where the pool had once been.

But for the first time since the mid-Victorian era, the general public would have no indoor swimming attraction in the town centre.

Do you remember the BIC Swimming pool, we would love to hear your memories?