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The Pool


The centre is in Frome, Somerset, UK.

Ownership of land, buildings and equipment

The Local Authority has granted Harry’s Hydro Appeal a 30 year lease at a peppercorn rent.

The building and all equipment is owned by the charity and is fully independent of statutory provision.

Design research

The aim was to build a best practice Hydrotherapy and Sensory Centre. We began by identifying the best facilities in the UK as well as around the world, and researched them to identify the best ways of delivering each aspect of the centre. Our approach was to learn from others re mistakes, improvements, what works and what doesn’t - in facility design, therapy and management of the centre.

The results of our research have been edited into a document which has been lodged with the UK government and key interest groups such as SCOPE, MENCAP and the British Hydrotherapy Association for Chartered Physiotherapists. It sets out guidelines for the specification of these facilities in an area where none exist. In addition we worked and work with an international hydrotherapy expert, and ex-Committee member of the British Hydrotherapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists, to ensure that we delivered the best facility; for the maximum number of people and conditions as possible; as economically as possible.

Our research identified that a prefabricated build with timber would provide the most aesthetic, practical, non ‘medical’ and economical option. We also identified that we needed fully automated plant to control air moisture and temperature, chemical balance and water temperature as these can otherwise become expensive maintenance items which can lead to periods of closure.

User research

The design incorporated the findings from a different programme of research we conducted among disabled people and their families. It took account of their dislike of ‘medical’ and ‘institutional’ environments, and included elements of fun and colour. This has helped fulfil their need to have an inviting place that is ‘theirs’, to which they can invite family and friends. A club atmosphere.


Site preparation and the build started in February 2011. The facility opened in November 2012.

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