|Vintage 1914 pool, refurbished in 2001; a perfect example of what can be done with an older facility by a sensitive and committed management. Limited changing area is pragmatically unisex, with cubicles large enough to double-up in if you're with a good friend (ditto the cubicled showers). Pool area very light and airy and a great space to swim in, although the water can get a bit warm in the summer. Two lanes for lengths at most times, four lanes during adult evening sessions.
|BLS is a mixed bag; the lifeguards pay no attention to (occasional) boorish behaviour, and aren't too bothered by who they clout over the head with the lane dividers; if they put them out (almost never on time).
Temperature is either fantastic or freezing, and there's sometimes a smell that indicates the filters need looking at. On the whole, it's not the cleanest in the world.
Often the pool is split 50/50 between lanes (two double-width, for fast and slow) and free swimming. Slow is fine, but forget about the fast lane if it's full of splashy alpha males. They tend to hog it with little regard for anything but their split-times.
You'll need to buy a padlock at reception; the lockers are built so that only those on sale at the desk fit. They cost about £3.50 a couple of years ago so expect this to have gone up.
The changing rooms are another "suck it and see" job; some of the doors don't lock properly, but nothing seems to have been done about it. The showers are generally fine though (again) there's sometimes a really rank smell.
Reception staff are either reasonably engaged or bored and contemptuous. Some of them could use customer service training because given the chance, they'll ignore you.
On the whole, BLS does the job as long as you're not looking for a premium experience. It's conveniently close and relatively cheap, and you get what you pay for. I just can't help feeling that with a little care and attention from a generally disinterested staff, this could be a much nicer place to swim. [April, 2014]