BBC News

History of Britain's lidos celebrated

image copyrightHistoric Pools of Britain
image captionSaltdean Lido, in Brighton, was dilapidated and on the verge of demolition in 2013 before being saved by local campaigners

A pair of outdoor swimming enthusiasts have documented the humble beginnings and enduring appeal of Britain's lidos.

Janet Wilkinson and Emma Pusill visited more than 100 outdoor pools because of their "passion" for lidos and public swimming.

Their book, The Lido Guide, features pools across the UK, including those in Lincolnshire, Sussex, Essex and Wales.

Historic Pools of Britain said outdoor swimming "has seen a big revival in recent years".

image copyrightHistoric Pools of Britain
image captionThe art deco Saltdean Lido in East Sussex was built between 1937 and 1938 and is one of only two grade II* listed lidos in the UK
image copyrightHistoric Pools of Britain
image captionJubilee Park, in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, was given to the community by Lady Weigall, the wife of British Conservative politician Sir William Ernest George Archibald Weigall, to commemorate the Jubilee of George V in 1935
image copyrightHistoric Pools of Britain
image captionJubilee Park was saved from closure by the parish council and has been managed by a charity since 2014

"Many lidos have been lost, but an increasing number are being rescued and there are active campaigns to rescue even more," said Ms Wilkinson.

"We love the sense of community, the beauty of sunshine through water, the companionable solitude of the swim and the chat with other swimmers that seems to flow so much more readily when not constrained by a roof.

"And we love the cafes, tuck shops and cakes that so often go hand in hand with lidos."

image copyrightPA
image captionIlkley Lido in West Yorkshire also features and is a popular place for children to cool off in warm weather

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image copyrightHistoric Pools of Britain
image captionLido Ponty, in Pontypridd, Wales, is the country's only listed lido and retains the original art deco outdoor changing boxes and turnstiles. It closed in 1991 but reopened 24 years later after a public campaign
image copyrightHistoric Pools of Britain
image captionLido Ponty was built in 1927 and was originally filled with water from a river which runs through the surrounding park

The co-author said the pair had spent "the last 20 years finding and swimming in lidos across the UK and Channel Islands, from where the idea for [the book] was born".

They were able to fund its publication through an online campaign.

"Visiting lidos is an absolute joy and it has been a sheer pleasure bringing together this book, which will enable everyone to discover and swim in these community gems," she added.

image copyrightLiz Artindale
image captionBrightlingsea Lido, in Essex, is a freshwater, unheated, seasonal pool situated on a tidal estuary, in a traditional promenade area
image copyrightHistoric Pools of Britain
image captionBrightlingsea Lido was built in 1932 and has used fresh water since the 1970s

All pictures subject to copyright.

Related Topics

  • Brightlingsea
  • Saltdean
  • Woodhall Spa
  • Ilkley
  • Pontypridd

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