The Team

Joe Stanhope

HPB trustee and Chair

Joe has been working at Jubilee Park in Woodhall Spa for 15 years and seen it go from County Council to Parish Council to Charity management. In that time he’s worked in almost every role from cleaner and being manager / operations director for the last 10 years. Joe and Jubilee Park, where the pool dates back to 1935, have been involved with Historic Pools of Britain since 2015 and have seen the huge benefit in networking and the knowledge sharing that it provides a platform for.

Simon Inglis


There is a line in the book, Great Lengths that Simon Inglis co-wrote with Dr Ian Gordon in 2009 that concludes… “there is a case for the setting up of a national organisation focused not only on user groups but on the issues of conserving and managing historic baths themselves.”

It was a baton that HPB founder Gill Wright picked up and ran with and the research that was done into this book and Janet Smith’s Liquid Assets (edited by Simon and also part of the Played in Britain series produced with English Heritage) formed the basis of a database on historic pools that HPB continues to maintain.

Simon is a London-based writer and editor, specialising in the architecture and heritage of sport and recreation. As a child in Birmingham he swam at Moseley Road Baths and was a regular at Villa Park – two historic venues that he would champion in later life as a journalist. And as a legacy of Great Lengths he has continued to support the work of Historic Pools of Britain for whom he is now an Ambassador.  Simon is a wonderful public speaker and in addition to the much-loved talks he gives about historic pools and heritage he is also a lecturer for the Arts Society.

Clare Short

Office manager and events planner

Clare has supported Historic Pools of Britain from the very beginning, she now oversees all day-to-day operations, including member liaison. She also plans and co-ordinates all of the events for the organisation.

If you are interested in membership, or would consider speaking at or being involved in an event then you can email

Laura Sullivan

Press and marketing

Laura, who is also director of Fido PR, has been instrumental in the establishment of Historic Pools of Britain; bringing to life the ambition to have a nationally operating network for historic pools. She saw that the means for sharing experiences, insight and support didn’t exist and that meanwhile many of Britain’s historic pools were facing closure or further decline whilst others clearly knew how this could be avoided. Laura identified the potential for a media focused members organisation to address this gap and to celebrate this element of our culture, sporting and architectural heritage. Thanks to these efforts the nation’s historic pools now have a national and influential voice that is having real and meaningful impact.

Laura leads all communications for Historic Pools of Britain, managing the press office and planning forward features.

If you have a media enquiry email

Gill Wright and Mike Kirkman

Gill Wright - Founder of Historic Pools of Britain

Historic Pools of Britain came into being thanks to the dedication of our wonderful founder Gill Wright (1959-2021).  As a volunteer and then project development manager Gill championed Manchester’s Victoria Baths for over 20 years, helping to save it after its closure in 1993 then seeing it transformed into a community and cultural space with its restoration quest ongoing.  Gill saw the difference that could be made if community campaigners and those running historic pools could be connected and collectively represented by a shared voice.  So in 2015 Historic Pools of Britain (HPB) was formally established.  Since this time HPB has been sharing insight, inspiration and support to historic pools up and down the country, as well as launching a scheme for individual members.  Gill’s mission was cut short by illness, but her ethos and spirit of community, friendship and support live on through Historic Pools of Britain.

Mike Kirkman - Trustee of Historic Pools of Britain

Mike Kirkman (1957-2022) spent his working life running some of the country’s flagship swimming pools up and down the country, including Grange Lido and Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre. He had a great passion for what he did and with this came a passion for sharing his knowledge and incredible expertise with others.  From the moment of Historic Pools of Britain being established he was there to offer his support.  He could see that it was community campaigns that were the reason that some of the nation’s finest pools were being saved, who would have a wide range of skills, but not necessarily in the technicalities of a swimming pool.  This is where Mike would help, always there to answer a question, point someone in the right direction or have a chat.  As a result he became an active and valued trustee.  His sudden death came in November 2022, shortly after his retirement – one that he had planned to spend full of historic pools endeavours and his other great love, cricket.

The creation of Historic Pools of Britain has only been possible thanks to the HPB team who have donated all their time to date on a pro bono basis. However the creation of the organisation wouldn’t be possible without the support of members, to whom we are hugely grateful for the faith they have demonstrated.