Photo of
March 7, 2019

Until it was closed in 2009, Dr Bells Baths on Great Junction Street was where many Leithers learned to swim.

Last weekend, after extensive refurbishment, it re-opened as an events venue and café. (Pic from venue Facebook)

Over the next few months, it has several gigs and other events scheduled, including an evening with Alan McGee, the man who signed Oasis.

The event which caught our eye was the beer festival taking place on Friday 22 and Saturday 23rd March.

The participating breweries include Fallen, Barney's, Broughton, Bellfield and the Edinburgh Beer Factory.

If beer doesn't float your boat, there will also be wine and cocktails on offer along with live music.

There are three sessions: Friday 6pm-11pm and Saturday noon to 5pm followed by the final session running 6pm to 11pm.

Tickets are £3 for entry only or £15 for entry, two drinks and food.

The original building was a school built in 1835 using a £10,000 bequest from the Reverend Andrew Bell.

The pool was added in 1896.

Sink or swim

As well as private flats, it now houses a family centre and nursery.

While generations of Leithers may remember 'Docky Bell' as the place where they learned to swim, the memories are not necessarily entirely happy one.

Reminiscing on the Edinburgh Photo site, one former student recalls:

'Miss Chapman was the swimming teacher at Dr Bell's School.

She would get us to jump into the pool and try swimming to the far end. She used to wear a long red rubber apron, down to her feet, and would walk along beside us

If you looked like going under, she would put a bamboo pole under your armpit, just enough to keep you up, but swimming.'

How times change.