Historic outdoor pool reopens on Saturday

Updated 2017-07-04 10:05:35 Shanghai Daily

Shanghai's oldest swimming pool will reopen on Saturday after a major renovation.

The 95-year-old outdoor pool in Hongkou District will open from 9am to 9pm daily through to August 27, the district government said yesterday.

Nearby illegal buildings were demolished as part of the renovation work.

Hongkou Swimming Pool is located at 500 Jiangwan Road E. and is the only remaining public pool in the former foreign concessions.

The open-air pool has a large sunshade over it and an artificial grass beach has been installed alongside. The pool measures 53 meters in length and is 20 meters wide, an official with the Hongkou government said.

Ten wooden deckchairs and sun umbrellas have been placed on the 1,050-square-meter beach beside the pool, the same as when it first opened, according to Shanghai Changyuan Group, which operates the pool.

The district government closed the pool last August and demolished about 1,400 square meters of illegal buildings around it, in order to restore the pool area's classic look.

As to the pool itself, the group used original design charts and old photos for the renovation, the official added.

Two booths serving as dressing rooms have been preserved, and the entrance to the pool has also been restored to how it looked almost a century ago.

The pool, beside the century-old Luxun Park, was built in 1922 and was originally named Municipal Council Swimming Pool. It was initially only accessible to foreigners in the concessions and Chinese citizens were barred from entering, which led to protests.

In 1928, the municipal council opened the pool to both Chinese and foreigners. The pool underwent its first major renovation in 1931 with a diving platform, springboard and slide being added.

"The slide was demolished during the renovation this time for safety concerns since it had been used for decades," a pool employee said.

Japanese invaders controlled and operated the pool in 1937. It was returned to the local government and officially reopened to the public in June 1949.

The pool receives an average of more than 100,000 swimmers annually, according to the group. Many renowned Chinese swimmers have trained there.

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