Royal Commonwealth Pool

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Royal Commonwealth Pool
Royal Commonwealth Pool, Edinburgh.JPG
Royal Commonwealth Pool West side
Royal Commonwealth Pool is located in Edinburgh city centre
Royal Commonwealth Pool
Royal Commonwealth Pool
The pool's situation within Edinburgh / Scotland
Royal Commonwealth Pool is located in Scotland
Royal Commonwealth Pool
Royal Commonwealth Pool
Royal Commonwealth Pool (Scotland)
Alternative namesCommonwealth Pool, the RCP, or the Commie[1]
General information
Architectural styleModernism
LocationEdinburgh, Scotland
Coordinates55°56′21″N 3°10′22″W / 55.939202°N 3.172731°W / 55.939202; -3.172731Coordinates: 55°56′21″N 3°10′22″W / 55.939202°N 3.172731°W / 55.939202; -3.172731
Cost$3.84 million
ClientCorporation of the City of Edinburgh Architects[2]
Design and construction
ArchitectJohn Richards of RMJM
Other information
Seating capacity2,000[3]

The Royal Commonwealth Pool is a category-A-listed building[4] in St Leonard's, Edinburgh, Scotland that houses one of Scotland's main swimming pools. It is usually referred to simply as the Commonwealth Pool and known colloquially as the 'Commie'.


The pool was commissioned by the Council under a plan by the then Lord Provost, Sir Herbert Archbold Brechin in 1966 as part of a wider project to bring the Commonwealth Games to Edinburgh. This, with the help of other committee members such as Sir John Inch, came to fruition in October 1969.

Construction began in 1967 and was completed in October 1969. The architecture was by Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall with structural input from Ove Arup & Partners.[5]

The pool was used for elite diving events hosted in Edinburgh, also being used for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the inaugural 2018 European Championships, both hosted in Glasgow.

The pool was closed 2009 to 2012 for major internal remodelling.

Architectural award nominations[edit]

In 1993 it was selected by the international conservation organisation DoCoMoMo as one of sixty key Scottish monuments of the post-war period.[6]

Swimming gala at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in 2013

It was also nominated in 2002 by the Architecture Heritage Society of Scotland as one of the most significant modern contributions to Scottish heritage. These sentiments were echoed in Prospect 100 best modern Scottish buildings, published in 2005.[7]

S&P Architects were the architects and lead consultants for the 2012 refurbishment and were awarded the Scottish Design Award in 2012 for the best reuse of a listed building.


In June 2009, the pool was closed to the public to begin refurbishment.[8] The project, led by Frank and Charlie of S&P Architects (now Space&Place Architects) began in August 2009, costing approximately £37 million, and included new 25 metres (82 ft) diving and teaching pools as well as improvements to the changing rooms, café, reception, and the dive gym.[9] It was originally expected to be finished by mid-2011[10] but did not reopen until March 2012.[11][12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gyford, Sue (24 June 2009). "End of an era as Commonwealth Pool gets ready for refurbishment". Edinburgh Evening News. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  2. ^ Willis, Peter; Ignatowicz, Jon (1977). New Architecture in Scotland. Lund Humphries. p. 76.
  3. ^ McWhirter, Norris; McFarlan, Donald (1992). The Guinness Book of Records 1992 (38 ed.). Middlesex, England: Guinness World Records. p. 298. ISBN 0-85112-378-3.
  4. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Royal Commonwealth Pool, 21 Dalkeith Road and Holyrood Park Road, Edinburgh (Category A Listed Building) (LB43148)". Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  5. ^ Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh, Gifford McWilliam and Walker
  6. ^ Glendinning, Miles (1997). Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-1975. DoCoMoMo. p. 29.
  7. ^ Black, Edward (7 October 2002). "Hill House one of best modern buildings". The Scotsman. AccessMyLibrary. Retrieved 17 November 2010. (registration required)
  8. ^ Ferguson, Brian (18 December 2007). "Stadium sale will fund refit for Commonwealth pool". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2010.
  9. ^ "Royal Commonwealth Pool refurbishment: update". City of Edinburgh Council. 26 February 2010. Archived from the original on 15 February 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  10. ^ "T&A Pool resources". Urban Realm. 27 February 2009. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  11. ^ Fraser, Gemma (19 April 2011). "Commie to reopen next spring . . but it will look the same sss". The Scotsman. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  12. ^ (20 March 2012) Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh officially reopens BBC News, Retrieved 28 February 2013

External links[edit]