Paddling Pool and Boating Lake


The paddling pool was presented to the town by Joseph Bevan Braithwaite after the end of the First World War in 1921. Joseph had six children, five boys and one girl. All of the boys fought in the war in various occupations and all of them came home uninjured. Joseph and his family lived in Blencathra, Seaview Road and had the pool built on the seashore near to their home. A plaque on the new sea wall commemorates the safe return of the sons. Blencathra was demolished and replaced by Blencathara (sic) Court, a block of flats.


In its heyday the pool was a very popular attraction.

An early picture shows people watching model boats. A refreshment cart in the foreground.

Postcards courtesy of Ann Popham.

Above: during the  late 1920’s an ice cream van serves the pool. Donkeys are on hand for additional entertainment.

Th picture above is from the Burnham on Sea Guide of 1950.

Below, a postcard from the 1960’s.

The pool was demolished in 2010 due to its poor state of repair.

It is not understood why Joseph’s sons fought in the first World War if they were Quaker pacifists There is evidence that many Quakers were involved in Europe making reparations to war damage rather than actual fighting . However there is other evidence that the youngest son, Joseph Gurney Braithwaite, served in the navy during the first World War.

Joseph Bevan and Anna Sophia’s family consisted of five boys and one girl

Jonathon Frederick Braithwaite 1883-1962
John Bevan Braithwaite 1884-1973
Alfred Lloyd Braithwaite 1886-1967
Dorothy Anna Braithwaite 1889-1974
Harold Wilson Braithwaite 1890-1990
Joseph Gurney Braithwaite M.P., Sir 1895-1958




8 thoughts on “Paddling Pool and Boating Lake”

  1. I think my sister and I swam in a pool in Burnham in the 1960s. Our family had a caravan at Brean and on a very wet day my parents parked up nearby and read the paper while my sister and I swam for hours in the pool in the rain. I’m guessing it was the boating lake? We were the only people swimming and we had a great time.

    1. Hello Louise,
      Thanks for your memories. It was very popular for children especially on a very hot day with the tide out. It’s such a shame there is no longer a water feature for children to enjoy on the beach.
      Thanks again,

  2. Born in 1948 I remember using the paddling pool whenever the tide was too far out. Some of the time it silted up, so that in parts its was only a few inches deep. I have some memory of it being used for model boats, but not often I think. Our usual place on the beach was normally close to the jetty, so to use the paddling pool was a bit if a trek for small legs. It was usually very muddy between the jetty and the marine lake and we used to mudlark before going in the tide to wash off.
    P.S. I was taught by a Mr. Strickland until the age of fourteen, that’s 1962 at King Alfred’s school.

    1. Hello Philip,
      Thankyou for sharing your memories with us. Mr Strickland was my father and I also went to King Alfred. I was born in 1949 so we must have been a year apart for classes. Like me you must have had some lessons in the Technical School in Burnham’s Technical Street while KA’s was being finished. Some days we had to walk for different lessons between the two buildings. Do you remember the air raid siren on the top of Technical School? It was used to summon the Firemen to their station in Princess Street. Please feel free to share more of your early memories with us.
      Thanks again

  3. My mother Esme Brown ( 1902 – 2000 ), who lived in Burnham all her life, always told me the pool was called “Potter’s piddling pool” Any known reason why?!

    In the fifties, I always sailed my model yacht in the pool, but later on it silted up, and often the yacht would be stuck in the middle!

    1. Thanks Christopher for your memory of this pool. I too remember sailing my model yacht here with the same results. I also remember standing on something sharp in the pool and when my aunt reached in she pulled out a pair of false teeth! Perhaps someone can shed some light on the name of the pool in your mother’s time?

    2. My grandparents lived in College Street in the beautiful tower house next to the Methodist church. Grandpa was the dentist opposite the house! I remember sailing my little boat on the boating pool – yes, it nearly always got stuck. One year (70s)there were jelly fish trapped in there and I came out with a rash and after that I refused to go in again! I did enjoy climbing about on the walls and the launching blocks were fascinating to me. Our usual spot was between the pavilion and the jetty. I remember donkeys, the cart, trampolines and swing boats. I remember a lot of scrubbing off of mud too!

      1. Hello Nathalie. Thank you for this posting.
        Your grandpa was my dentist from my childhood years until his retirement. He always spoke to me and my family while out in the town. It’s such a shame the boating/ paddling pool is no longer there as I too remember what an attraction it was for children when the tide was out.

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