Surbiton Lagoon

Note: The comments below have been gathered over 6 years on our old site. As they hold a lot of information about Kingston, we have transferred them. You can comment on any of these older posts by using the form at the bottom of the page. All comments are moderated.

Surbiton Lagoon. (Raeburn Avenue)
It’s entirely untrue to say that the lagoon was closed due to declining popularity. It was packed in the seventies. I remember having to wait to get in.
It was closed because the council decided that instead of two well-used but aged pools, which required a lot of maintenance, (the Lagoon and the Coronation Baths) the Borough would benefit from a flagship state of the art pool, the Kingfisher, which they funded by selling off the two other sites. I know this because I briefly went out with one of the council officials responsible for the decision, and a non-swimmer!   The Kingfisher, with it’s two shallow ends and lack of outdoor access hardly filled the gap left by the loss of the facilities of the Lagoon. Berrylands.

Surbiton Lagoon was an awesome place the be in the summer in the 70′s. The moment you got through the turnstiles and saw that big fountain you could feel the excitement. It had huge terraces where you could sunbathe all day, the pool was massive with a really deep, deep end, the girls looked great in their bikinis. Baywatch in Berrylands. I know lets knock it down and build another really boring housing development on it. Yeah, that’s much better. Not! Massive, massive shame it was closed down. A shame on Kingston council. I feel it is sorely missed! JTait New Malden

The pool was called Surbiton Lagoon and was in Berrylands. There is a new housing development in its place.

Surbiton Lagoon was close to Reaburn Avenue. It was a very large pool. Probably Olympic in size. It was extremely popular during the 1930s until around the late 60s early 70s. Other leisure pursuits became more popular and the pool fell in to disrepair. People came from miles around. Berrylands had a good train service in those days.

Was browsing your site. Just wanted to thank the person who posted pictures of Surbiton Lagoon. I’m in the U.S. now but used to go there every summer as a child. Thanks for the memories!
I certainly remember Surbiton Lagoon in the late sixties. In hot weather it was a marvellous place and it was a great shame that it closed around the time I had to move away from Kingston in the 1970s.

I also remember the Coronation baths in Denmark Road well. For six years I was a member of Kingston Ladies’ Swimming Club and we met there every Friday.  There were two pools in summer but just the one in winter.  The larger pool, which was very deep and had a high diving board, was drained and covered over in the winter to make the Coronation Hall, which was a dance hall with a bar and a gallery.  On Friday nights there were often Jazz Band Balls, when well-known Traditional Jazz Bands used to play.  Me and my friends used to sneak into the gallery after our swimming class in the other pool, in order to listen to the music. The baths also had ordinary baths for washing in, which one could hire if one did not have a bath at home.
Both the Lagoon and the Coronation baths were getting very tatty by the end of the sixties; the changing rooms for the Coronation baths’ smaller pool were freezing in winter, for example; but it is a shame that the money wasn’t found to bring them up to date for serious swimming. The new Richmond pool that opened in the mid-sixties was marvellous and it must have taken some customers away from Kingston. My Mum, who was a far more serious swimmer than me, only went to the Kingfisher Pool once, preferring the older Teddington baths.

Reading your site during my lunch break today, I was interested to read your paragraph about the old Surbiton Lagoon and Coronation Baths both of which you report were closed to fund the Kingfisher. As a former Surbiton resident and a regular user of both the above during the 1960s and 70s, you might be interested to know that I heard (but not confirmed) that one of the reasons why Coronation Baths closed was because the glass roof above bath one (Coronation Hall) was unsafe and in danger of falling down. Originally made unsafe by the vibration from bombing in WW2.

I also remember the Coronation baths in Denmark Road well. For six years I was a member of Kingston Ladies’ Swimming Club and we met there every Friday.  There were two pools in summer but just the one in winter.  The larger pool, which was very deep and had a high diving board, was drained and covered over in the winter to make the Coronation Hall, which was a dance hall with a bar and a gallery.  On Friday nights there were often Jazz Band Balls, when well-known Traditional Jazz Bands used to play.  Me and my friends used to sneak into the gallery after our swimming class in the other pool, in order to listen to the music. The baths also had ordinary baths for washing in, which one could hire if one did not have a bath at home.

Both the Lagoon and the Coronation baths were getting very tatty by the end of the sixties; the changing rooms for the Coronation baths’ smaller pool were freezing in winter, for example; but it is a shame that the money wasn’t found to bring them up to date for serious swimming. The new Richmond pool that opened in the mid-sixties was marvellous and it must have taken some customers away from Kingston. My Mum, who was a far more serious swimmer than me, only went to the Kingfisher Pool once, preferring the older Teddington baths.

Surbiton Lagoon was an awesome place the be in the summer in the 70’s. The moment you got through the turnstiles and saw that big fountain you could feel the excitement. It had huge terraces where you could sunbathe all day, the pool was massive with a really deep, deep end, the girls looked great in their bikinis. Baywatch in Berrylands. I know lets knock it down and build another really boring housing development on it. Yeah, that’s much better. Not! Massive, massive shame it was closed down. A shame on Kingston council. I feel it is sorely missed! JTait New Malden

I also remember the Coronation baths in Denmark Road well. For six years I was a member of Kingston Ladies’ Swimming Club and we met there every Friday.  There were two pools in summer but just the one in winter.  The larger pool, which was very deep and had a high diving board, was drained and covered over in the winter to make the Coronation Hall, which was a dance hall with a bar and a gallery.  On Friday nights there were often Jazz Band Balls, when well-known Traditional Jazz Bands used to play.  Me and my friends used to sneak into the gallery after our swimming class in the other pool, in order to listen to the music. The baths also had ordinary baths for washing in, which one could hire if one did not have a bath at home.
Both the Lagoon and the Coronation baths were getting very tatty by the end of the sixties; the changing rooms for the Coronation baths’ smaller pool were freezing in winter, for example; but it is a shame that the money wasn’t found to bring them up to date for serious swimming. The new Richmond pool that opened in the mid-sixties was marvellous and it must have taken some customers away from Kingston. My Mum, who was a far more serious swimmer than me, only went to the Kingfisher Pool once, preferring the older Teddington baths.

Comments 16

  1. As a young American I was fortunate enough to spend several months in Surbiton visiting English friends back in summer 1969. I had a great flat on Upper Brighton Road. It was broiling hot that summer and the Lagoon became the focal point of local activity. I went there often with my mates and loved it. I was heartbroken to hear that it had been demolished. I’ll cherish my few pictures all that much more.

  2. i loved surbiton lagoon i first learnt to swim with abit off encouragement off the life guard i waspetrified to gounderthe water and the life guardshowec me the qickest way to get the fearout off me i lived ina kiddies home insurbiton called cambria them days aretruly gonenow

  3. I spent most of my time at the Surbiton Lagoon between 1962 and 1966. l attended Holyfield school and remember not being able to breath that first swim of the season it was so cold. During the summer holidays most of my friends met there including Johny Hill and Brendan Hennings and idled the summer away with Girl friends from Surbiton High and Coombe Girls. Happy days, I hope they all got what they wished for
    Tony

  4. I remember going to the top of Tolworth Tower soon after it was built. I went with my friend Heather who had some sort of appointment there with her father. We sloped off and got in the lift and went to the top. The door opened and there was a large security man saying we could not get out. Heather wheedled and said we just wanted to look at the view, so he stood behind us whilst we looked out of the top window. I have a feeling the offices might have been used by the Home Office!

  5. Oh I remember both Surbiton Lagoon and Denmark Road pool in Kingston.
    Many a day was spent on the steps of the Lagoon with a packed lunch. The changing rooms weren’t the best and the pool was always cold. Best of all was the hot chocolate from the cafe. Would walk home to Princess Ave Tolworth so I could have one.
    Kingston baths was always busy. Did my swimming lessons there with school ( St Mathews ). Use to sit in the seats above pool to watch school regatta’.
    My dad use to be the chief engineer at both boiler rooms(Dick Congdon) he used to be called out all times if the day and night and would sometimes go with him. The boilers were massive and when they weren’t fired up you could climb inside them.
    Hope this gets read by someone
    Shirl new Congdon

    1. i loved the lagoon spent a lot of my summer holidays there in the 50s I learnt to swim at the Coronation Baths as a member of Kingston Ladies Swimming Club then used to go to dances there on a Saturday and met my husband at a New Years Eve dance 1959 Happy days

    2. I used to go to Surbiton Lagoon, I lived in Amberwood Rise, New malden.
      I used to spend the day with friends at SL, I used to go when it opened
      and not go home until late afternoon, you would not let your children
      go now.Never saw my parents much in the school holidays.
      I then got my first job at Tolworth Tower.
      I live in Norfolk now and miss those days.
      I had a great child hood.
      I bet it has changed beyond belief.
      It was lovely to read your memories.

  6. i went to the Lagoon every day in the summer holidays in the 1950s and met my Husband at a New Year Eves dance 1959 in the Coronation baths hall .Such a shame they both have gone

  7. remember learning to swim the hard way at coronation baths, being thrown in by the older sea cadets from steadfast. also cycling from elm road new malden to surbiton lagoon. lovely carefree days.

  8. when I was an apprentice electrician in the early 80s, we were rewiring and upgrading the electrics in the Coronation baths when it was shut down for maintenance, a lot of work was being done to the boilers and chlorine plant. they had just painted one hall/pool and started to erect the scaffold in the other pool with the opening roof. it was when access was made to the ceiling of this pool when they found out the concrete beams were falling apart. all work was stopped and the building condemned.

  9. I used to live at Shannons Corner, then Amberwood Rise New Malden.
    I used to cycle to Surbition Lagoon with my friends I think Dianna Piits,
    Christine Rogers, We used to spend the day there.No mobile phones back then.
    My Mum and Dad never saw me from 9ish until 5,30 at night.
    ILOVED MY DAYS AT SURBITION LAGOON.

  10. Loved Surbiton Lagoon, went there in the sixties and then took my son there in the seventies when he was little and sent many a happy day there, shame they closed it down we then had to travel across to Guildford to there open air pool but it was not the same somehow Surbiton Lagoon was the best.

  11. My memories of Surbiton Lagoon are from the mid/late Sixties. We would cycle from New Malden down South Lane and then over some rough land over the Hogsmill. (Can’t imagine today’s children being allowed to do that at the age of twelve or so)
    There used to be a huge Victorian wooden mangle to squeeze the water out of your towels and cosies before going home.
    Only place around that sold Oxo flavoured crisps.
    There were a couple of stories that were probably urban myths: one was that somebody had dived off the highboard and been impaled on a snorkel and the other that someone had put a bag of potassium permanganate in the pool and the water turned purple.

    1. Hello SUE,
      I used to go to S Lagoon. Used to spend most of the Summer Holidays from School there. Approx 1965 ish give or take
      I went to Bushey Infants junior, then onto Burlington Sec, New Malden. We used to
      bike there from Shannons Corner, then Amberwood Rise. I used to go at 9.30
      and not come home until tea time. Could not do that now days.

      Awesome memories.

      1. I was at Burlington Juniors then in ’64 went to Wimbledon County. Lived in Beverley Rd so didn’t have far to go to school!
        Yes, we had so much freedom in those days. I used to go off cycling with a pal on Sunday afternoons and go all the way round Richmond Park. No mobiles to call home like today.

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