THE Oasis Leisure Centre boasted 'the biggest leisure dome in Europe' when it opened in 1976.

The £170,000 centrepiece of the three-storey site was imported from the States to amaze the people of Wiltshire.

The centre cost £3 million to build overall and aimed to bring a bit of Hawaii-style paradise to Swindon.

Some 20,000 people crammed into the Oasis for the grand opening on January 1, where the entertainment ranged from synchronised swimming and sub-aqua displays to a British Rail Brass Band recital.

The kidney-shaped leisure fun pool with its artificial banana trees and make-believe seaside spent much of its first 18 months closed due to paintwork and filtration system problems.

But the American National Swimming Pool Institute hailed the Oasis as the world’s top residential pool of 1976 and awarded it a gold medal.

The leisure centre celebrated its two millionth visitor in June 1979. For its tenth anniversary, the Oasis installed three Domebusters water flumes for £600,000 which became hugely popular with Swindonians and tourists alike.

The slides helped the centre briefly become Wiltshire's most popular tourist attraction, even above Stonehenge.

The venue has hosted gigs by Talking Heads, Dire Straits,The Stranglers, Van Morrison, The Specials, Paul Weller, Madness, Alice Cooper, Ed Sheeran and The Kings of Leon.