The late Alfred Evans from Hinton was taught to swim at the Bassom. “The chief attendant of the bathing station lived in St. Martins Avenue. He taught me to swim with a rope. There was a diving plank, a long wooden strip going out almost into the middle of the stream where it was deeper. He had a flexible plank at the end and that’s where he used to walk along there, put a rope round your shoulders and pull you in.
The attendant had a punt and Alf, who was brought up at the Wye Inn, would take a pint of beer in his haversack. “I’d walk up the river and he would spot me and row across. The other boys couldn't understand why I had this privilege, but, of course, it was the beer.”
Squadron leader Gordon Lamputt from Tupsley recalled swimming here in 1939 or 1940. “These army chaps from Bradbury Lines were being rowed across in a boat when the damned thing overturned. Their heavy uniforms dragged them down and we were diving to try and get them up but we couldn’t.” Gordon still wonders how many survived.
On May 29th, 1915, The Hereford Times reported:-
‘With the advent of summer weather bathing was commenced in the Wye at Hereford, the Bartonsham station, maintained by the Town Council, being opened on Tuesday. Every morning the swimming members of the Royal Army Medical Corp in training at the Barracks, parade for a river bathe, and at least 50 enjoy the matutinal plunge at the Bartonsham.’
The custodian was PC F. Bromage, whose uncle, Mr Reuben Bromage had served as a former attendant. Tom Preece was in charge of the boat. In total 369 bathers including 30 ladies on Thursday afternoon, took to the water during the week and the pressure of numbers led to the construction of a new open air annex thanks to farm tenant Mr Harry Walker. ‘The water is in splendid condition, being both fresh and of a comfortable temperature,” reported the newspaper.