Penzance’s iconic Art Deco open-air lido is delighted to have opened its groundbreaking and much anticipated new feature: a geothermal pool.
The first of its kind in the UK, the stunning new geothermal pool treatst visitors to a unique alfresco experience within the pre-existing sea pool, where fresh seawater will be geothermally heated to 35 degrees to heighten the sensory effect.
The official opening took place on Friday 28th August, where a local swimming family enjoyed the inaugural honour of being the first group to experience the geo pool. The privilege was originally reserved for local woman and lifetime supporter, Joyce Cooper, who attended Jubilee Pool’s grand opening in 1935; however, she recently passed away just as plans for the launch were being finalised.In tribute to Joyce - a well-known former swimmer, swimming teacher, coach and first female President of Cornwall Swimming - a selection of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren took to the water to continue the family’s history of inter-generational swimming at the lido she loved for her entire lifetime.Granddaughter Hannah May said: “Gran was suffering with age-related mobility issues and was so desperate for one last dip in the water this summer that Tom and Jo from Sea Swim Cornwall organised a charity fundraiser, which involved them swimming 22km in one day across a number of Cornish beaches. The funds were used to purchase a specialist aquatic wheelchair that unfortunately Gran never got to use, but has been permanently gifted to Jubilee Pool to help other mobility impaired and disabled people gain access and enjoy the renowned physical and mental health benefits of sea water swimming, which is a brilliantly befitting legacy from Gran!”
The system operates by extracting warm water from the geothermal well (410m deep – one and a half Eiffel Towers!), taking heat out of that water using heat pumps and distributing it to the pool via a heat exchanger, before re-injecting the cooler water back into the ground. The wells were drilled as close to the pool as was physically possible. The combined system means that the temperature of the pool can be sustained with a very low carbon footprint. The system is the first of its kind in the United Kingdom and will act as a showcase for geothermal, low carbon heat supply.
Jubilee Pool’s £1.8m investment project is a great demonstration of the power of community. Nearly £540,000 of the funding came from a public share offer resulting in an organisation truly owned by the community with 1400 shareholders of which 970 are local people. The remainder of the funding for the investment came through a mix of loans and grants from Power to Change, Architectural Heritage Fund and Cooperative Community Investment Fund.
The investment project has transformed Jubilee and will enable year round opening. It saw the construction of the new geothermally heated section of the pool, upgraded changing facilities and showers, a new cafe with double the seating capacity and a new multi-purpose community space. The geothermal well which had made Jubilee Pool’s project a reality was constructed by Geothermal Energy Limited with grant support from the European Regional Development Fund. The normal capacity of the geothermal pool is 50 people per session; however this is restricted to 15 people per session under current government and industry guidelines.