|In 1974, John F. Smithie OBE, Town Manager of Bletchley Urban District Council commented: 'one frequently heard the cry "there is nothing to do in Bletchley" and if it was only partly true in the 60's, it certainly cannot be sustained in the 70's'.
This was following the establishment of Bletchley Leisure Centre on the site of what was originally Central Gardens - an area in the centre of town behind the shops of Queensway.
In 1971, the Council had decided to go ahead with the provision of a leisure complex to include a sports hall, squash courts, bowling green, swimming pool, saunas, cafeteria, billiard room, bowling alley and a small theatre. Buckinghamshire County Council agreed to pay for the inclusion of a youth centre.
|Bletchley Leisure Centre.|
|Although not fully completed until spring 1975, the leisure centre was officially opened on Saturday 10th February 1973 by Dr. Roger Bannister CBE, Chairman of the Sports Council.
In a publicity booklet published at the time, Councillor E R Staniford JP wrote: 'We (the Council) believe that this leisure centre, when completed, will be second to none in the country. We are proud of our architects, we are proud of our builders and we are proud of the men we have appointed to the staff of the leisure centre for their breadth of vision in the plans they are making for the future use of the centre'.
The £2.5 million centre was administered by the Borough of Milton Keynes following Local Government reorganisation in April 1974 and additional financial assistance came from Milton Keynes Development Corporation.
|In 1975, an average of 40,000 people per month visited Bletchley Leisure Centre. Possibly the most popular part of the centre was the swimming pool. Enclosed by a glazed pyramid, the pool won a Structural Steel Design award and was the first municipal one of its kind in the UK.|
|The multi-storey car park.|
|Inside the 'pyramid'.|
|Visitors to the centre were able to park in a 600 car multi-storey car park which was linked to the main building by an elevated covered walkway, leading straight to the first floor entrance.
Some years later, the centre is still in use. It underwent refurbishment during 1999 and 2000 - visitors now park in a surface car park and enter the centre on the ground floor , where many of the original facilities remain, complemented by a new cafeteria , bar and privately - run gym.
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