Before the days of garden hot tubs (I wonder if any homes in Bolton have their own pools?) the masses flocked to public swimming baths to keep their cool.

For many, the refreshing delight was tempered by stinging eyes thanks to liberal amounts of chlorine added to the water.

And who can forget those iconic posters warning of the dangers of “bombing” and heavy petting? And was there anything more revolting than the footbaths you had to wade through beforehand?

The photograph on the top left shows the young men of Bolton Swimming Club, together with officials, pictured at the turn of the last century.

Judging by the medals and badges pinned to their all-in-one swimming costumes, it’s likely that the photograph was taken to mark a special occasion. Perhaps they’d won a major competition.

The curious thing about those living in the early 1900s is that it’s impossible to guess their ages.

The photograph on the bottom left shows smiles in the face of defeat.

Kathleen Mayoh, of Fleetwood, bravely set forth on a cross-Channel swim in August 1953.

However, her attempt was unsuccessful and she had to be brought back to Dover by boat.

Giving her a consolation kiss is Jenny James of Pontypridd, who had been prevented by illness from competing in the race.

I wonder if Kathleen made future attempts to swim to France in the years that followed.

The photograph taken centre left was taken at Bolton’s Moss Street Baths in August 1970.

If the poolside was that crowded, Lord knows how cramped it was in the actual water.

Pictured are some of the young swimmers who completed 15.5 miles of swimming – equivalent to a three-quarter crossing of the English Channel – in just over one-and-a-half hours.

The swimmers, members of Methodist churches, were taking part in a sponsored swim organised by the Bolton Methodist Circuit.

The event raised about £200 for the Methodist Missionary Society.

There were 150 swimmers – some as young as five-years-old – taking part and between them they completed more than 1,000 lengths of the pool.

Cooling off by dipping their feet in Doffcocker Lodge in 1955 were the youngsters seen in the photograph on the bottom left.

Gordon Davies, of New Hall Lane, is seen splashing water over Rowena Colluney, aged 15, of Chorley Old Road.

The top left photograph on this page shows Mr J. Jackson, the headteacher of Johnson Fold Primary School in March, 1974.

He followed his pupils’ example by getting in the swim at Smithills Baths in March 1974 for a sponsored swim.

Top right on this page, and looking more like aliens thanks to their tight swimming caps, were these youngsters keeping cool in the Bridgeman Street Baths in 1954.

A heatwave made the baths extremely popular, so much so that bathers were only allowed three-quarters-of-an-hour in the water to allow those waiting outside to take a turn.

Sunbathing on the banks of Brian Hey Reservoir, on the Horrocks Scout Road were these youngsters seen in March 1957.

The final picture, on the right, shows Bolton Swimming Club’s free-style relay team of Janice Broadbent, Nancy Burton and Lillian Kearns.

They crowned a splendid season when they set a new Lancashire County Amateur Swimming Association record of four minutes, 14.5 seconds in the team championship race at Lytham.

If you were one of those swimmers pictured in any of today’s photographs, do get in contact with us to share your memories. Email