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Holt Island (undated)

Holt Island, St Ives

History of Holt Island

Then and Now by David Gent

Holt Island is a 7 acre island in the River Great Ouse. Once the location for commercial growing of willow. The name ‘Holt’ is defined in old English dictionaries as “A piece of land on which willows are cultivated for basket-work.” In 1913 an outdoor swimming pool was opened on the island , water for the pool was fed directly from the river. It was closed down in 1949 because the powers that be declared the river water was contaminated and unsafe for swimming. The pool is still there on the western side of the island, now used by the sea scouts to moor their boats.  The eastern side of the Island is now a nature reserve. Holt Island Nature Reserve is open from 10.00 am – 4.00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and Bank Holidays between April and the end of October, subject to weather conditions and flooding. You used to be able to visit at other times between April – October by obtaining the key from The Norris Museum, but not sure if that is still the case.

First picture is an undated postcard, but presumably from the days when the swimming pool was open, as it is referred to as the entrance to the Bathing Pool. Second picture taken a couple of weeks ago.

Holt Island (2022)

Then and Now

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