Lido (swimming pool)

Lido (swimming pool)

A lido, in the United Kingdom, Portugal and some other countries, refers to a public outdoor swimming pool and surrounding facilities, or part of a beach where people can swim, lie in the sun or participate in water sports. Over a hundred Lidos are still open.

On a cruise ship, outdoor pools and the surrounding facilities are referred to as the lido deck.

The term "lido" comes from the name of the Lido on the sandy barrier beach that encloses the Lagoon of Venice, where sea-bathing took place from the later nineteenth century.

History in UK

The golden age of new lidos was in the 1930s, when swimming became very popular, and 169 were built across the UK as recreational facilities by local councils. Many closed when foreign holidays became less expensive, and local lidos were snubbed as "naff", but the remaining lidos have a dedicated following of supporters.

Three examples of open lidos are Saltdean Lido in Sussex, Tooting Bec Lido in South London and Jesus Green Swimming Pool in Cambridge. Surbiton Lagoon and Peckham Rye are two that have closed. There were numerous lidos (particularly in London and the south-west), but hundreds have closed in the UK in recent times.

In 2005 a major breakthrough in lido revival took place when English Heritage published "Liquid Assets - the lidos and open air pools of Britain", produced as part of the "Played in Britain" series. Author Janet Smith had spent years researching (and swimming in) lidos around the country and her book explored the past, present and future of open air pools. This, in turn led to two major conferences in 2006: "Reviving Lidos" and "Making a Splash".

Although there have been many setbacks, long-running campaigns have resulted in some important successes: In October 2006 London Fields Lido re-opened in Hackney after a campaign lasting nearly 20 years; Droitwich Spa Lido has also re-opened after a six year battle by the group SALT (Save a Lido Today); and Brockwell Park Lido celebrated its 70th Birthday (1937–2007) on 10th July.

On-going campaigns include: Wood Green Pool in Banbury, Clifton Pool and The Victoria Public House in Bristol and Broomhill Pool in Ipswich. Furthermore there is a push to reopen the Cleveland Baths (at Hampton Row in Bath) as a lido. The historic grade two* listed baths, which date back to 1815, are believed to be the oldest surviving public outdoor swimming pools in the country.


* [ Lidos in the UK]
* [ Wandsworth Council Leisure Services]
* [ Pooling Resources]
* []

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