In 1900 a boy drowned in the lower Earlswood Lake and it was suggested that the existence of swimming baths might have avoided the tragedy.

Many houses did not have a bath and the idea of a building containing personal baths as well as swimming baths had been aired by William Conolly of Buckhurst, a large house off Linkfield Lane, the name of which is preserved in Buckhurst Close. He had been a councillor since 1896 and was mayor from 1902-1904.

Unfortunately the cost was seen by the council as too great so Mr Conolly negotiated with Jeremiah Colman of Gatton for a piece of land in London Road for which he eventually paid £150.

Plans were drawn up for a swimming bath 70' by 30' with slipper baths. The frontage was to contain two or three shops and there were to be three or four recreation rooms and a small hall on the first floor for the formation of a working men's club.

By 1903 the project had advanced and Sir Jeremiah Colman was approached by Mr Conolly for a contribution towards the cost but instead of merely donating Sir Jeremiah provided the whole of the cost.

In 1904 the Colman Institute was gifted to the town by him and opened by Lord Rosebery, but contrary to previous plans there were no shops or baths included, it being a working men's club only.

It was not until 1906 when baths in Castlefield Road, Reigate, opened that indoor swimming facilities became available in the borough.

l Article and picture courtesy of Alan Moore, A History of Redhill volumes one and two.