Crown Baths

The Crown Baths, Kennington Oval, was a 19th century speculative private swimming pool which was well patronised in the days before the introduction of municipal baths. The pools were heated by waste steam from the beam engine of the Crown Works builders yard.

The first Inter-Varsity water polo Match was held on Friday 23rd October 1891 at the Crown Baths. The winners were Oxford with 4 goals to Cambridge's 1. The location was chosen as there was a lack of suitable covered pools in the University towns.

It is not clear if the water polo competitors had to pay the 6d (2.5p) entrance fee to use these swimming baths or took advantage of the Hot or Cold private baths at the additional cost of 6d (2.5p). These were before the times of politically correctness as ladies had to pay 9d to use the pool! (Price taken from Dickens's Dictionary of London 1879)