POTENTIALLY RE-OPENABLE LIDOS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Compiled by Oliver Merrington, www.lidos.org.uk
- with the assistance of Andy Hoines and other members of the Lidos History Society.
The purpose of this webpage is to list those lidos built in the 1930s or earlier, which have recently closed, and where substantial buildings and the pool tank remain. Obviously, there are an enormous number of factors which might determine whether each pool could be re-opened, not least the cost. We were going to call this page "Easily re-openable lidos...."
In most cases it not possible to visit these pools, except with special permission from the owner, usually the local authority. However, they can be seen from the outside.
For many of these there are active campaigns to save the pool, and details of these are included, where known.
Please type into your email program if you are able to supply further information on any of these lidos.
For other closed pools in London, see our webpage Lidos in the London area no longer open.
INDEX TO RE-OPENABLE 1930s LIDOS
The following pools have re-opened since this webpage was first compiled in 2005:
Banbury: Woodgreen Lido 1939 [reopened 2009]
Bristol: Clifton Victoria Baths 1850 [closed in 1990, reopened 2008 as The Lido]
Droitwich Spa Lido 1935 [reopened June 2007]
High Wycombe: Wycombe Rye Lido, was Holywell Mead Outdoor Pool, Bucks. [reopened 2011]
London: London Fields Lido 1932 [reopened October 2006]
London: Uxbridge Lido 1935 (reopened May 2010)
These pools have had their pool tanks filled in, but there may be features still visible:
Abergavenny: Bailey Park Outdoor Pool, Wales 1938 [closed in 1996]
Barry: Cold Knap Lido 1926 [demolished 2004]
Carterton Swimming Pool, Oxfordshire, 1970s
London: Eltham Park Lido
London: Harrow Wealdstone Open Air Swimming Bath
Hendy Outdoor Swimming Pool, near Swansea, Wales
Malmesbury Outdoor Pool
Marsden Park Open Air Pool [grassed over]
Nottingham: Bulwell Lido [demolished, now housing]
Ringshall: Deer Leap [demolished, now a house and private garden]
Slough: Baylis House Pool
St Neots Outdoor Pool
Sutton Park: Keeper's Pool [demolished]
Waterbeach Barracks Outdoor Pool, Cambs.
Abergavenny: Bailey Park Outdoor Pool, Wales 1938 [CLOSED in 1996, filled in 2006]
Bailey Park, Park Avenue, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales.
This 128 x 35 ft outdoor pool, plus paddling pool and fountain opened in 1938.
See this aerial photo taken in 2004.
Before the Second World War Bill Edwards, who died in 1960, was employed by Monmouth Borough Council as its first swimming instructor. He taught generations of children to swim in the River Usk, and on leaving the army in 1939 took up the post at the newly built Bailey Park.
The care of the pool was taken over from Monmouth Borough Council by the Abergavenny Town Council, who managed to keep it open for several years until health and saftey issues, and a lack of money forced the closure. The pool was kept open largely through the efforts of a voluntary band of helpers who called themselves the 'Friends of Bailey Park Pool'. They ran the cafeteria and raised money for repairs and equipment.
1996: Abergavenny Town Council reluctantly decided to close the pool amid health and safety fears.
The council is seeking lottery funding to improve the park's infrastructure and facilities, including the old swimming-pool site.
April 2006: "It was the end of an era for many Abergavenny families when Bailey Park open-air swimming pool was demolished. The decision to raze the 67-year-old pool site was taken by Monmouthshire County Council after fears were expressed by Abergavenny town councillors over the danger to youngsters breaking in. The three pools lay idle, but not empty, since the town council reluctantly decided to close it amid health and safety fears in the early 1990s. See two items on 13 April and 27 April in the local paper.
2009: Gavin writes:
There's really not much left of the pool any more. The pools themselves have been filled in, and there's only grass left, and one or two of the original walls. You really wouldn't know there had been a pool there at all now. The aerial shot from 2004 was from before it got filled in.
It's a real shame - I used to swim there as a child myself. But even then it was only open during the school summer holidays... then that became only two weeks a year, before shutting down fully.
Addlestone Leisure Centre Outdoor Pool [closed in 2007]
School Lane, Addlestone KT15 1TD Surrey
This heated outdoor pool, built 1977, 22m x 9m, which is shared with Abbeylands
School, will not be open for the foreseeable future, while new funding sources are being sought.
See this message sent to the Lidos Yahoo Group for further information.
Run by Runymede Borough Council.
Leisure Centre Website:
Addlestone Leisure Centre
Banbury: Woodgreen Lido [reopening 2009]
Woodgreen Leisure Centre, Woodgreen Avenue, Banbury, Oxfordshire
Tel: 01295 262742 (indoor pool)
The adjacent 1994 indoor pool in Woodgreen Leisure Centre is owned by Cherwell District Council and is still open.
When open this Olympic-length 50 m heated outdoor swimming pool also had flumes, slides and diving boards.
Opened on 23 May 1939; £7,900 was raised for building the pool, buildings and a complete layout. With its capacity of 356,000 gallons, the new 1939 pool, together with its surrounding complex, involved 23 contractors and sub contractors, using firms such as the London Brick Company and regional bodies such as Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire Power Company.
Main entry now moved to this webpage.
2008: Cherwell District Council has agreed a contract for a refurbishment project will cost £1.4 million. Banbury Town Council will contribute £50,000 a year to help with the running costs. Parkwood Community Leisure, which operates other Leisure Centre on behalf of Cherwell District Council, is expected to take over the operation of Woodgreen Leisure Centre in April 2009. This will see the Woodgreen lido repaired and back in action in time for summer 2009.
Derrick Knight writes (December 2008):
"The builders are already on site. The contractors are Leadbitter Construction of Abingdon. Their brief means that the old diving hole at the deep end will be filled in and the depths reduced a little in the interests of heating water costs. The new pool will have a traditional tile finish and a new children's wet play area is to be created. The old 55 yard length will be tweaked to make it an exact 50 metres. All the machinery for water circulation and heating will be repaired or replaced."
Campaign: Banbury Open Air Pool Support Group
Bath: Cleveland Pleasure Baths [CLOSED in 1984]
Hampton Row, Bathwick (alongside the River Avon)
See photograph at the top of this webpage.
An advertisement in the Bath Weekly Chronicle on 26th June 1817 stated "The Pleasure Baths situated on the Banks of the Avon are now open".
Roger Houghton writes: "The pools and adjoining river provided opportunities for both swimmers and non-swimmers to enjoy the water, but were probably used solely by male bathers.
Ian Gordon writes:
"The main pool is 137 by 38 ft, and there ia smaller pool (50 by 20 ft).
The cottage next to the pool dates from around 1814 and was the property of William Harry, Duke of Cleveland, who used it a fishing lodge. After his death it was left to the council hence the name of Cleveland Baths - the pool used to communicate with the river. The cubicles were added in around 1870 in two wings from the cottage. There are original handrails and stone steps, and the Baths have been Grade II listed since 1982."
The Baths were closed for swimming by 1985 (subsequently used as a trout farm).
In June 2004, Bath & North East Somerset Council put it up for sale, at around £400,000 - but later the same month withdrew them from sale.
The Landmark Trust may be interested in the site, which would ensure restoration and some public access but may not be compatible with use for swimming.
Here are some more photographs, taken in June 2004.
For complete history please see Roger Houghton's website:
or Janet Smith's book, p.13
Campaign: In the process of forming a building preservation trust, probably to be called the Cleveland Baths Trust.
Bristol: Clifton Victoria Baths [closed in 1990, reopened 2008 as The Lido]
Lido, Oakfield Place, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2BJ
Tel: 0117 933 9530 (health club Reception)
The former Clifton Victoria Baths are the oldest Grade II* listed open-air baths in the UK, an example of a subscription bath built in 1849-1850 in Egyptian style. On 12 August 1897 the pool was purchased by the Corporation of Bristol for £3,025.
The Baths closed around 1990, after allegedly springing a leak. On 8 April 1998 the pool was sold for housing for an undisclosed sum (rumoured to be £81,500). The Clifton Victoria Baths Management Company Limited, a campaign group, was formed in 1998.
There are two black-and-white photographs and notes on the history of these baths in Janet Smith's book, p.14
For a complete history, please see
www.lidobristol.com or Phil Goldsbrough's
website The Fight to Save the Clifton Pool.
In 2003 BBC News reported that plans to demolish Clifton Lido and turn it into flats had been withdrawn.
In 2005 The Glass Boat Company, which runs the Glass Boat and Spyglass restaurants in Bristol, acquired the building. They plan to revive the Lido by building a restaurant and café, together with a sympathetic restoration of the Grade II* pool. Arne Ringner, Director of the Glass Boat Company, said that the company was now looking forward to starting redevelopment of the site.
In August 2006 the Clifton Lido was granted planning permission for the Restoration of outdoor pool and associated buildings to provide mixed use development comprising subscription pool and associated spa facilities (with sauna, mud rooms, treatment rooms, meeting rooms etc) and restaurant and poolside bar/lounge". Work started in 2007.
This blog showed the building work in progress, 2007-08.
Clifton Lido re-opened late in 2008 as a private health club, re-named The Lido. Membership in 2013 is £605 pa, or £55 per month, but The Lido is open to non-members on Monday to Fridays from 1pm to 4pm - an afternoon pass costs £20 for adults and £7.50 for accompanied children (after 2pm).
The Restaurant on the first floor is open to members and non members at all times, with access via a separate entrance on Southleigh Road.
Club website: www.lidobristol.com
Carterton Town Council Swimming Pool [CLOSED in 2003, now filled in and grassed over]
Recreation Ground, Swinbrook Road, Carterton, West Oxfordshire
Carterton Pool was built in the 1970s and owned by Carterton Town Council. The outdoor pool was one of three built in west Oxfordshire in the early 1970s, the others are at Chipping Norton and Woodstock. (If you've not heard of Carterton perhaps you know RAF Brize Norton which is also there).
September 2001: The future of Carterton's outdoor swimming pool was in doubt - with closure possible in 2003. Major repairs were needed, costing around £100,000.
October 2001: It runs at a loss of about £22,000 a year. A grant towards running the pool from West Oxfordshire District Council will stop in 2003.
2003: Carterton's mayor Keith Stone said: "The pool needs extensive, costly refurbishment, and it looks as if revenue losses will increase significantly." Estimates for renovating the Swinbrook Road pool are £100,000 - equivalent to an extra £25 on council tax for each household in the town. It costs £25,000 a year to keep the pool open from May to September. Half of this is paid for through town rates and half from a grant by West Oxfordshire District Council.
The pool shut for the last time on 7 September 2003. A new indoor pool opened in the town in November 2003.
[Now filled in and grassed over. Site may be sold for housing.]
Clacton: Pier Lido
The Pier, Clacton-on-sea, Essex CO15 1QX
Tel: 01255 421115 (pier office)
The Clacton & District Local History Society webpage has some nice old photographs showing the pool.
Droitwich Spa Lido [closed in 2000, RE-OPENED 2007]
Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire WR9 8AA
[Entry moved to new webpage]
Grange-over-Sands Lido, Cumbria [closed: 1992]
on the seafront, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria
This 165 ft x 105 ft lido was built in 1932 and designed by B Smith.
A replacement indoor pool was built by charitable donations when the Council refused to repair the outdoor pool and refused to build a new one. Despite winning prestigious awards for its architecture and design, this indoor pool also closed in 2006 when to the Trust running it went into receivership. See this photograph by Silver*Rose on Flickr.
In 2004 proposals for a £6m re-development of the promenade area in Grange-over-Sands were unveiled. An exhibition of the 'Time and Tide Project' was held at Victoria Hall, Grange-over-Sands from 4-6 November 2004. "The project was developed by Grange's 3Ps community group, with support from South Lakeland District Council, Cumbria County Council and Rural Regeneration Cumbria. Architects were commissioned to present ideas for improving the promenade area. They completed their design study in 2004, aimed at addressing the revitalisation of the promenade, renewal of the railway bridge crossings and reclamation of the former swimming pool."
2008: The Council announces a preferred bidder for the re-development of the old Lido site, Berners Close car park, the old nursery site and the Berners Pool area.
"This important development will be carried by a local consortium called 'Berners Vision Partnership'. It will deliver a new medical centre, leisure facilities and swimming pool, a retirement hotel and an access across the railway line to the old lido site which will be developed to include a café and gardens. New housing ... will be built on the site of Berners Pool. Discussions will now take place with the developer and the District Council, Town Council and the 3P’s Group to put together a final proposal to go to formal planning. This will be linked with the Heritage Lottery bid by the 3P Group for the re-development of the promenade and gardens."
Great photos on the 28dayslater Urban Exploration Forum, and
South Lakeland District Council
Hendy Outdoor Swimming Pool, Llanelli, Wales [CLOSED in 2002]
Heol y Parc, Hendy, Pontarddulais, Swansea SA4 0XF
The village of Hendy is about six miles east of Llanelli, in Carmarthenshire.
The 33 m x 15 m Hendy Outdoor Swimming Pool was built during the depression of the early 1930s, by out-of-work voluntary labour. The tools used during that period were primitive in comparison with today - pick axe, spade, wheelbarrows and trams loaned from nearby collieries. Funds to buy materials were raised locally and out of this money the volunteers were given a packet of 10 Woodbines for a day’s work or a bar of chocolate for the non-smokers.
The pool opened in 1933, and was run by the village community as a viable concern for the next 50 years. It was then taken over by Llanelli Council, which later became Carmarthenshire County Council in 1983.
From 2001 it was decided that the Community should run the facility, and Hendy Swimming Liaison Committee and Llanelli Swimming Club agreed a joint partnership to run the pool. However this proved to be the pool's last season.
Former committee chairman Derrick Lyons said:
"In 2001 there were 89 season ticket holders who visited the pool over 30 times, i.e. 2,670 visits. So the total is more than 4,000 visitors, probably closer to 5,000 - coming from a 10-mile radius."
The pool closed in 2002, as there was "serious pool erosion and inner wall collapse".
See these photographs of the pool from 1930s and 2001 on the Pontarddulais History website.
December 2004 to February 2005: Campaigners actively fighting to re-open the pool. Local people meet with Carmarthenshire County Council representatives to discuss the future of Hendy pool.
August 2005: Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board commissioned a in-depth structural survey to assess the pool’s condition. The report concluded that: "the pool structure has reached the end of its useful life and, although it would be possible to undertake repairs, we are of the opinion that, in the long term, it would be more financially beneficial to remove the existing pool and provide a new structure". Officers said the cost of providing a new pool could be hundreds of thousands of pounds.
(Left to right) Assembly Member Catherine Thomas, Steve Lloyd-Janes and Nia Griffith MP - with the pool in the background.
Steve is Vice-chair of the Hendy Pool and Park Committee.
April 2006: Petition launched. 1300 names were collected in two weeks.
This was reported by BBC News
Nia Griffith, Labour MP for Llanelli, believes Hendy Outdoor Swimming Pool could attract funding thanks to residents' enthusiasm, plus their proven ability to run the pool.
Nia Griffith attended the Reviving Lidos conference, in London in March 2006, representing Hendy.
2007: Carmarthenshire County Council awarded a grant of £9,500 to fund a feasibility study.
2008, Feb: Assembly minister Leighton Andrews and AM Alun Davies came to Hendy to meet the Wales Scouting Movement who have been involved in the feasibility Study by Hyder Consultants.
A structural survey by Mott McDonald commissioned by the Council estimates refurbishment costs to be £250,000.
For the most recent information, please search the Messages in Lidos Yahoo Group.
Save the Hendy Pool Campaign - information on Steve Lloyd-Janes webpages.
Hendy Pool and Park Committee
London Pools Campaign page on Hendy
Ipswich: Broomhill Swimming Pool [CLOSED in 2002]
Sherrington Road, Ipswich, Suffolk
Photo: Paul Beaumont
Grade II Listed, built by the Borough Surveyor’s Department, 1938 for £17,000. Owned by Ipswich Borough Council. Was a 50 m open-air swimming pool with high board diving, sun bathing terraces and cafeteria.
2002: Rob Pearce, of the Friends of Broomhill Pool writes:
"Ipswich Borough Council spent £80,000 on the pool five years ago giving the pool a five year lease of life. This gave them five years to carry out further essential repairs on the pool."
The pool has not opened since 2002. See the item on the pool closure on Ed Broom's website, (26 Feb 2003)
2003: The Friends collect 12,000 signatures on a petition to save the pool. Repairs have not yet taken place.
2004: In February 2004 the pool was visited by representatives of the Heritage Lottery Fund. The pool remains shut while the Council examines "the future of swimming facilities in the town".
February 2005: Griff Rhys Jones visits and urges the Broomhill Pool Trust to fight for the pool and make it "a voting issue."
August 2005: On 23 August 2005 the Executive of Ipswich Borough Council voted through up to £58,450 to fund a full scale feasibility study. The Council's document stated that:
"a refurbished Broomhill Swimming Pool would contribute to the Council's aims and objectives... improving the quality of life for people who live in, work in, or visit Ipswich ...."
Sally Wainman writes:
We are currently waiting to sort out the details, as the Broomhill Pool Trust will be responsible for organising the study and liaising with the firm appointed to do it. In September 2005 the pool site was open for the Open Heritage weekend and 700 people visited.
2006: A full scale Feasibility Study is taking place, taking 8 months: to include up-to-date surveys, plans for the possible conversion of the changing-room area, site visits to other lidos, eg Parliament Hill Fields, Brockwell, public consultation etc. The professional team is headed by Bill Haward, of WPP Architects. The Broomhill Pool Trust liaises with both the team and Ipswich Borough Council.
For the results of the Study see this message to the Lidos Yahoo Group.
2008: A £1.99m bid from the Heritage Lottery Funding is rejected. Although the project met the three key HLF objectives, the HLF indicated it was seeking "greater long term commitment from the pool's owners [Ipswich Borough Council]".
December 2008: Ipswich Borough Council's Pool Options report says that £113,000 will be spent on draining the pool, taking down the diving boards and filling in the pool. Option B1 says the lido will be "mothballed" until unitary authority is established.
For the most recent information, please search the Messages in Lidos Yahoo Group.
[Aerial photograph © 2001 Eastern Counties Newspapers Group]
Short film by James Sharpe: The Pool
Campaign website (with numerous photographs): Broomhill Pool Trust
Malmesbury Outdoor Pool [Closed in 2003, filled in 2006]
Old Alexander Road, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0DT
This 33-yard outdoor swimming pool was opened in 1961.
Closed permanently on 31 Aug 2003 following the opening of the indoor pool. Site due to be redeveloped for housing.
Graham Kelly wrote in June 2004:
"The old pool is intact apart from the cubicle doors and a couple of benches which have been removed. I also went to have a look at Malmesbury's new all-singing, all-dancing indoor pool but ironically found it closed due to some technical difficulties they were having...."
July 2006: Malmesbury Outdoor Pool was demolished.
Graham Kelly again writes:
"Malmesbury was the first English lido I visited and have generally good memories of it.
The first time I went there I had the place to myself. The lifeguards were bored and played football beside the water, meaning I had to retrieve the ball every time it got kicked in.
It was nice for a couple of years but I think there was a change at North Wiltshire Leisure and somebody began imposing uncalled for changes and the place just deteriorated both physically and as an overall enjoyable experience.
I gave up going there on my long drives to Swindon and began going to Cheltenham instead. Then in about March 2003 I read somewhere on the web that an indoor pool was being built in Malmesbury. I put two and two together and made sure I visited a couple more times before it closed.
I've been to see the derelict pool a couple of times since then. It was intact, if fenced off and in reasonably good condition the last time I saw it. Some cubicle doors had very crudely been used to board up the windows.
A sad loss for sport in Wiltshire.
Malmesbury Outdoor Pool, 1961-2003 - RIP."
Marsden Park Open Air Pool [CLOSED in 1999, filled in 2006]
Walton Lane, Nelson, Lancashire
1930s pool was "set in lovely surroundings with sunbathing lawns, changing, toilet and shower facilities and cafe".
1 October 2004: BBC reports that the abandoned pool is to be filled in.
See: BBC News webpage
2006: Pool has now been filled in and grassed over.
Nottingham: Bulwell Lido [demolished]
Ken Martin Swimming Centre, Hucknall Lane, Bulwell, Nottingham NG6 8AP
1930s pool, included a cafe. It was alongside a 25m x 12.5m indoor pool and teaching pool.
In 2003 Nottingham City Council carried out a Leisure Centre Consultation at which all the leisure centres in the city were considered. This put the Bulwell Lido under extreme threat. They estimated that they need to spend £90,000 before 'it is safe to re-open it'.
18 May 2004: Nottingham City councillors voted to close four of Nottingham's swimming pools. A proposed £18m transformation programme would see Bulwell Lido close as well as indoor pools at Lenton, Beechdale and Noel Street. The council said the plan is essential because of a huge repairs bill, falling numbers of swimmers and an over-provision of pools."
So the pool did not open for the 2004 season, however the adjoining indoor pool remained open.
Supporters of Bulwell Lido held a public meeting on 19 May 2004.
Ian Lambert writes:
"Around 100 people attended the meeting, organised by the local Labour Party - who disgracefully had already passed a motion in favour of the Lido's closure. The council seemed to be making no distinction between the Lido and the indoor pools. I said that the Lido provided a unique experience for all ages and for people from all ethnic groups, and it was more than just a swimming pool. It was a safe environment for families and children to have a day out and talk, and chill out, etc. I fear it may well be a lost cause though, as the land is valued at close to one million pounds."
Further protest marches, etc. followed.
22 June 2004: Nottingham City Council announce the closure of the last remaining Lido in the county. The indoor Ken Martin Swimming Centre next door remains open.
February 2005: The Bulwell Lido site was auctioned off in London for £1.22 million. A Nottingham City Council spokeswoman said: "The lido has been purchased by a local building company. We believe the company might now seek planning permission to build new homes on the site. Contracts have been exchanged." She added that, once the cost of the sale was deducted, the money raised was 'ring-fenced' to finance improvements at the adjoining indoor Ken Martin Swimming Centre.
August 2006: Dominik writes:
"I am a Nottingham resident and unfortunately Bullwell Lido has been demolished and new homes are being built. I visited the place today to have a look. Thus there is no Lido anymore in my area."
Campaign: Save Our Lido, formed in 2004.
Pontypridd Lido: Ynysangharad Park [Reopened 2015]
The National Lido of Wales
Ynysangharad Park, Ynysangharad Road, Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan CF37 4DA
Tel: 01443 490490
The paddling pool
In 1873 farmland alongside the River Taff owned by Gordon Lenox, the director of the nearby Brown Lenox ironworks, was made into a cricket pitch. In 1923 this area was transformed into attractive parkland called Ynysangharad Park to be a War Memorial for those who died in the Great War. Over the next few years a bowling green, rugby pitch, outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts and bandstand were added to the existing cricket pitch with its small pavilion. For more see part of the Cricket Archive
The small outdoor swimming pool from the 1930s was affectionately called 'The Puddle' by locals. Recent improvements to The Puddle have included a water slide and a statue of a crocodile. These are a far cry from the old diving platform that was situated in the centre of the pool. The lido was shut in 1991 by the former Taff Ely District Council.
In 2002 a feasibility study was be completed on "all options for swimming
facilities for the people of Pontypridd, including Ynysangharad War Memorial Park".
In 2003 the renovation of the Lido in Ynysangharad Park was announced by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council as one of several improvement schemes which were now ready to move forward. The council is consulting with the Welsh historic buildings agency Cadw on the best way of carrying out repairs while preserving the character of the pool. The cost of restoring it as a pool was estimated at £600,000.
Andy writes: "This was the grandest park lido I had the pleasure of swimming in, before it closed in 1991".
Pontypridd Lido re-opened on 24 August 2015.
The £6.3m "Ponty Lido" will be free until the end of October. Entrance charges for the pool will not be introduced until summer 2016. There will be three heated pools in operation - the largest with lanes is 17 x 25 metres.
Funding sources were: £3million from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, £2.3million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a £900,000 contribution from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, and a £100,000 contribution from Cadw.
or Ponty Lido (in Welsh)
Or via Rhondda Cynon Taf Council website,
Reading: King's Meadow Swimming Baths [CLOSED: 1970s]
Kings Meadow Road, Reading RG1 8BP
This Grade II listed 120 x 45ft 154,000-gallon pool opened in 1903 and was part of a pair of riverside open air swimming pools; originally one for the men (from 1864, now demolished) and one for the women. The "Womens Bathing Place" had changing booths and showers, but the pool was unheated - it used a water supply derived from the adjacent River Thames.
"A continuous current of water will be maintained in the bath, by the difference in level between the headwater at Caversham Lock and the tail water at Sonning Reach."
The pool closed to the public in 1973 due to cracking which enabled water, mud and miscellaneous debris to seep in from the River Thames.
Robert O’Neill writes:
"The remaining brick built colonnade and entrance lobby have all the architectural charms of the Victorian era: cast iron columns, mahogany entrance kiosk, tiled surround and handrails around the pool. The pool still has water in it, but the roof and the changing area have been butchered. Over the entrance there is a little tower and most of the roof is still tiled." (During the lifetime of the pool the water treatment method changed and a heating system was installed.).
The building is still in use by the Reading Branch of the British Sub Aqua Club (see link below). They have not used the pool itself, but their presence in the building has kept it from being vandalised.
2003: Reading Borough Council publishes its Thames Parks Plan.
2004: Plans by Reading Borough Council to demolish the graffiti-covered building, and develop King's Meadow and Caversham Lock Island (owned by the Environment Agency) into a hotel, apartments, etc., with development partner MacLeer and Rush. See the local newspaper report.
The campaign group’s vision for the building includes an open-air swimming pool in the summer that could be turned into an ice rink in the winter. They also believe a pavilion ought to be added to one end of the building to provide facilities, including showers, changing rooms, toilets and possibly a café.
July 2004: The Reading East MP Jane Griffiths presented a petition to parliament to save the Baths.
August 2004: English Heritage makes a U-turn decision to grant the pool Grade II listed status.
2007: Reading Borough Council and agents Lambert Smith Hampton issued Sale Details for the Kings Meadow Swimming Pool and for Caversham Lock Island. The Council are now seeking a partner or partners to develop and refurbish the two sites. English Heritage will be involved in the evaluation process.
2008: Following the marketing exercise by Reading Borough Council, five bids were received. In July 2008 it was agreed that the bids from the Kings Meadow Campaign (keeping the baths as a public facility funded through a Community Trust) or Askett-Hawk (privatising the Baths into a spa with boutique hotel, serviced apartments and restaurant, plus offices on Lock Island) should be considered in greater detail over the summer.
For further details and photographs of this lido, see Janet Smith's book, p.166
King's Meadow Baths (from Anne Jessel)
London Pools Campaign webpage on this pool
Reading BSAC - history
Reading Waterspace Report (PDF)
Campaign: Save King's Meadow Campaign, set up by Robert O'Neill, in 2004.
Ringshall: Deer Leap Swimming Pool [CLOSED in 1996, demolished 2007]
Little Gaddesden, Berkhamsted, HP4 1PE
2004: Developers trying to build two detached houses on the old Deer Leap swimming pool site in Little Gaddesden are appealing against the council’s decision to refuse the plans. Coleman Properties lodged the appeal last month having originally submitted plans for one five bedroom and one six bedroom house on the long-vacated Ringshall plot in January.
The once much-loved swimming pool has been the subject of many planning applications in the past. Two years ago Dacorum Borough Council turned down plans for five detached houses on the site. And in 1999, they refused a bid to renew planning permission granted in 1993 for squash courts and changing rooms.
Kevin and Veronica wrote on 27 February 2008:
The Deer Leap (RIP)
"Having revisited an area that we were very familiar with, during the mid 1980's to early 1990's, it is with sadness that we must inform you that the Deer Leap is no longer. Although closed for several years there has always been a faint hope in one's heart that while it was still extant, some miracle would one day occur and restore it, and this money grabbing materialistic country, to a better time (like so many others of our beloved lidos). The site has been cleared and a rather large detached "des res" of dubious taste lies back from the road, complete with a large stone name plate solemnly pronouncing "DEER LEAP MANOR AD 2007" like a gravestone. We only swam at the Deer Leap on one occasion but have very fond memories of it. It was like a holidy camp pool, with a club atmosphere - compact, surrounded by lockers and with small, triangular diving platforms. It also had the Deer Leap logo painted on the bottom of the pool. One could have imagined it a fantastic place to have a late night pool party on a hot summer's night."
Deer Leap Swimming Pool
[a related website]
Royston Outdoor Pool [CLOSED in 2005]
Newmarket Road, Royston, Herts, SG8 7DX
A heated open-air 23m swimming pool, built with an adjoining cinema in the
1930. (The pool subsequently closed, but re-opened in 1968). Now has a water slide,
paddling pool and raised sun terrace. Open between late May and September and floodlit for
evening sessions. The original entrance building is now an Indian
restaurant. The 30-seat cinema next door was demolished in September 2002.
Now administered by Hitchin Swimming Centre.
Final season: 2005
To be demolished in 2006 to make way for housing. A new indoor Leisure Centre opened nearby in 2005.
St Neots Outdoor Swimming Pool [CLOSED in 2003]
Huntingdon Street, St Neots, Cambridgeshire
This 50 metre open air swimming pool has been demolished.
Aerial photograph, as it was
Slough: Baylis House Pool
Baylis Park, Stoke Poges Lane, Slough, Berkshire SL1 3PB
The swimming pool at Baylis House Hotel was opened on 27 May 1933 in time for one of the best summers of the 20th century.
Elias Kupfermann writes:
"In 1962 the pool was enlarged by Slough Borough Council which also included the replacement of the filtration plant and also to make it a heated outdoor pool. The new pool was rectangular in shape and measured 165ft x 56 ft providing two shallow ends with a depth of 3ft. In the centre of the pool was a 12ft 6ins diving pit - there was a 5 metre diving stage, plus 3 and 1 metre spring boards. There were dressing cubicles to accommodate 2,500 bathers.
To save Baylis House from property speculators, Slough Borough Council bought the house and 16 acres of surrounding land in 1939. Since 1990 the house has been owned by Baylis House Ltd., but the council retained the park and the area of the pool. It is currently one big planted flower bed."
Website for the house:
Baylis House - History
Sutton Park: Keeper's Pool [CLOSED in 2003, demolished 2005]
Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, West Midlands B73 6BU
Sutton Park is Europe's largest urban park - 2,400 acres (970 hectares). Within it are a number of lakes of which Keeper's Pool was originally built as a fish pond within the 12th century medieval deer park.
The outdoor swimming lido was built in 1887. In 2003 vandals burned down the changing facilities, and the lido closed this year. All buildings were demolished.
see photo by Mike Kemble and the site is now being returned to its natural state [early 2005].
6 May 2004: Neil Connor writes in the Birmingham Post:
"Controversial plans to develop one of Birmingham's oldest parks have been forced back to the drawing board by "people power". The city council last night announced it was reviewing its plans for an outdoor education centre and lido in Sutton Park following vociferous opposition from local campaigners. The £3 million project envisaged a string of new facilities at the Boldmere Gate area of the park, on the edge of Powell's Pool.
However, it was announced last night that no building would take place around Powell's Pool - the most contentious part of the proposals - and an alternative location in the park was being sought for the centre complex.
In addition, the public will decide, via consultation, whether a new lido should replace the facility destroyed by vandals last March. Groups including Friends of Sutton Park and the Sutton Coldfield Civic Society expressed concern over the siting of the new facilities.
Councillor Hood told The Birmingham Post it had been "made clear" there would not be any building around Powell's Pool. "That idea has been scrapped," he said. "We have got plans to continue with an outdoor pursuits centre but can't say where that is. It will not mean any other building in Sutton Park. We're not too sure whether the public still want a lido in Sutton Park and we need to continue consulting with people on that."
2005: Pool has now been demolished and the site is being returned to its natural state.
Friends of Sutton Park Association
Sutton Coldfield Civic Society
Sutton Park Lakes - part of Peter Coxhead's Sutton Park website.
Theale Green Recreation Centre [closed 2005]
Theale Green School, Church Road, Theale, Reading RG7 5DA
This message to the Lidos Yahoo Group reported:
The 25m heated open air pool was forced to close after its boiler broke down. A £200,000 estimate for repairs is "a price nobody is willing to fund".
At a meeting of West Berkshire Council’s Eastern Area Forum in 2005, Head of Culture and Youth Services, David Appleton said meeting the massive repair bill could not be justified. He said: “This pool is just past its use-by date. It’s old and not that big, and the amount of money needed to bring it back into use is quite considerable.
2012: This pool may have been filled in, and concreted over.
Campaign: (exists, contact details not known)
The Lido, Worthing [CLOSED, for swimming, in 1988]
Marine Parade, Worthing, West Sussex BN11 3PX
Tel. 01903 213486
"The elegant Grade II listed Victorian birdcage bandstand [built in 1897] later became a Lido". This was open until 1988, when it held the dolphins from Brighton for a year whilst their permanent accommodation was being rebuilt. In the winter of 1989-90 it was finally built over.
It is now a Family Entertainment Centre called "Ayers Leisure Lido".
Andy P writes:
"Interestingly the pool is still intact underneath a new floor, and is now used for storage. So, maybe one day!"
View from the sea, 2003
Aerial photograph (lido is on the left)
First compiled by Oliver Merrington and Andy Hoines, 2005.
Updated by Oliver, March 2009, minor edits July 2013.