Royal Marines Swimming Bath

The Cedars Doctors Surgery stands on the former site of the Royal Marines swimming bath, which was built in 1892. The pool itself was originally tidal and was filled twice a day at each high tide. It was converted into a heated pool between the two world wars.

The pool gives us a fascinating link with the Battle of Jutland when the British Grand Fleet sailed from Scapa Flow in 1916 under the command of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe GCB, KCVO, SGM to take on the German High Seas Fleet.

On 22nd June 1893 the battleships HMS Victoria and HMS Camperdown collided near Tripoli during manoeuvres. HMS Victoria sank and 358 of her crew drowned, including 68 Royal Marines from a detachment of 98.

Lieutenant H D Farquharson RMLI was awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Bronze Medal for saving lives during this incident. One of those he rescued was the then Executive Officer of HMS Victoria, Commander John Jellicoe SGM, RN. Lieutenant Farquharson became the first Royal Marine Superintendent of Swimming at Deal and later (1920–1923) served as Commandant of the Depot.

Following the 1893 disaster, less than twelve months after the Deal Swimming Bath was built, an order was made directing that all Royal Marines must learn to swim before passing out of initial training.

Trail Directions: Turn right down Cheriton Road and take the 2nd left into Cheriton Place (having passed the former stables for officers’ horses) before crossing North Barrack Road to the Post Office Gate of North Barracks.