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26-39 50th ANNIVERSARY:SPN Master pages 15/09/2009 10:22 Page 32
spnfeature Celebrating 50 years of Swimming Pool News
Tony Line: “When low cost construction materials
were manufactured in the UK, more people had
enough money to build their own pool”
Congratulations to Swimming Pool News providing alternatives to the existing fairly
for 50 years of providing the information basic but expensive concrete pool shells
and news that really matters to the British only affordable by the wealthy. When
leisure industry and market. these low cost construction materials were
The publication has certainly developed later manufactured here in the UK, even
into a polished and excellent journal. In more people had enough money to build
1959, I was a 12-year old sea cadet with their own pool and the new methods also
one of my friends going by the name of allowed for free form design. 1984, from building basic liner pools to
Keith Moon. Our nation was on the edge A new industry was born and Swimming designing and constructing bespoke
of change as the years of post war austerity Pool News was there at the very beginning concrete in-ground pools and spas.
were ending with many more people having to play a significant part in the all The company has become an innovative
access to better education and higher important flow of information between and creative contractor by pushing the
salaries with larger disposable incomes as businesses and individuals. boundaries beyond convention as a matter of
well as increased amount of leisure time. London Swimming Pool Company is course, the ideas that we now pursue were
These factors together with the proud to also be celebrating an anniversary simply inconceivable 50 or even 25 years ago.
introduction of the liner pool imported this year, its 25th year in the industry.
from the USA and the sprayed concrete There have been momentous changes for Tony Line is Managing Director of
process radically changed the market by the company since its incorporation in London Swimming Pool Company Ltd
Selwyn Mindel: “The trade has always been too
lethargic when it comes to new ideas and
inventions. Most builders will always do what
they have done in the past”
wholesalers who where promoting liner We joined the Swimming Pool & Allied
pool kits and had made instruction manuals. Trade Association, the only authoritative
The trade has always been too lethargic body in the UK for professional installation
when it came to new ideas and inventions. standards, Unipools immediately started to
Most builders will always do what they win SPATA’s design and construction awards,
have done in the past. There is no sense of and have done so in most years since 1978,
adventure and the traditions carried out in including national ‘Pool of the Year’ award.
the past seem to be filtering through with Working closely with the inventor on
the upcoming generation. patents and improvements of a revolutionary
When I first got involved with the The present recession has hit hard in the new type of automatic pool cleaner, we set
swimming pool trade the business was a industry and it seems there have hardly up ‘Kreepy Krauly Europe’. It is now a
‘cottage industry’. been any enquiries for new build work. generic pool cleaner name world wide.
That was in 1975 when there was not Most companies have in hand work that Ionic purification, a water treatment
much information about servicing and they tendered for in the past. system adapted from a development by
chemical treatment of swimming pools. The internet has caused havoc with the NASA to purify drinking water on the
There were a few wholesalers who supplied retail side of the industry with most Apollo space programme, was introduced
the trade and everyone knew everyone. All customers shopping around for deals. When by us to this country in 1978. Considered
business was done on a fair and it comes to fitting heaters and pumps there very new then, ionic purification is now
gentlemanly basis. There was always a fair is nothing like the ‘real thing’. I hear stories extensively used by the pool industry. In
competition policy between builders and of people who have ‘come unstuck’ by 1990, we introduced the first national leak
suppliers. I set up my own business, buying on the internet then having difficulty detection and pressure testing service in
Unipools, in 1975 with my brother Norman having the parts fitted by real swimming the UK for swimming pools, a system which
and rapidly became the largest swimming pool engineers. It is these same people who quickly found favour within the industry,
pool maintenance and servicing want warrantee work done and find the due to its speed and effectiveness.
organisation in North West London. In internet was not such a good idea after all. I was President of SPATA in 1990 when
1978, the company started to build We brought fully automatic self- the swimming pool industry was beginning
swimming pools, a step which allowed us to cleaning pools to the market which can be to grow again after the recession. During
use innovative skills to considerable effect. installed in ‘days’ no matter what the my presidency, another innovation, “The
This was the time when liner pools were weather conditions. It is a perfect Swimming Pool Guide”, the first consumer
catching on and soon overtook the opportunity for the trade to try something guide to pools and spas ever published in
installation of concrete pools. new with cutting edge technology. It is this country was introduced.
There were lots of ‘cowboys’ in the early also perfect to slot into a busy schedule
days of liner pools – especially aluminium when you have a customer who won’t wait Selwyn Mindel is a founder Director of
and steel wall section pools – commonly for three or four months for a start date SPATEX and former SPATA President.
referred to as ‘Skin & Tin’. The rest were and for the trade who want to build pools He runs pool specialists Unipools
‘Block & Liner’ pools supported by the when the weather is bad. Group which includes Compass Pools.
32 Swimming Pool News October 09 >>> Digital edition available at
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