Swimming Pools and Lidos
Lidos are outdoor swimming pools that usually have areas for sunbathing, relaxing, eating and other activities around the water. The term lido originates from a bathing area in Venice.
In London, lidos began to appear in the 1920s and 30s. Councils built them as fashionable and modern ways of encouraging Londoners to keep fit. Swimming was popular, and workers had more leisure time thanks to reductions in working hours and paid holidays. Many lidos fell into disuse in the 1960s and 70s, but recently they are enjoying renewed interest. London's 20th century lidos include:
This was opened in July 1937 by the London County Council (L.C.C) Parks Department. It formed an identical pair with the pool in Victoria Park, Hackney (now demolished). It has a Grade II listing.
This unheated lido was opened in May 1939, and was the last to be built by the L.C.C. It was the first to have a separate children's pool.
Hampstead Heath Ponds
These three ponds are fed by natural springs. In the 1930s, the Highgate Diving Club practised here, and their Aquatic Carnivals attracted crowds of 10,000.
Hampton Heated Open Air Pool
This pool opened in 1922. It was upgraded in 1939, and again in 1961. Towards the end of the 20th century, the pool closed and threatened with demolition. In 1985, it reopened as a heated swimming pool.
Hornsey: Park Road Pools
This open-air pool opened as Hornsey Lido in June 1929.
Oasis Swimming Pool (once known as Holborn Baths)
Before the 20th century there were Turkish baths here, which were extensively rebuilt in 1900--1902. In the 1930s, a competition was held to modernise the complex. Construction began in 1937, but was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War. After the war, lack of money reduced the scale of the plans and just one outdoor pool opened in 1946. An indoor pool eventually opened in 1960. The complex has recently been refurbished.
Parliament Hill Lido (or Hampstead Heath Lido)
This pool, set within a 2.5-acre site on Hampstead Heath, was opened in August 1938. The lido was the most expensive (34,000) built by the L.C.C. in the 1920s and 30s. It was a 'super sized' lido, reflecting a high demand in the densely populated suburb. It was awarded Grade II listing in 1999.
This lido opened in the 1960s and is Grade II listed.
This lido is on the south bank of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park. It is very popular with families since there is a paddling pool, sandpit, swings and a slide. The lido was founded in 1931 as part of improvements to public amenities in London.
Tooting Bec Lido (originally known as Tooting Bathing Lake)
Opened in July 1906, this is London's earliest purpose-built open-air pool, and is one of the largest in Europe. In 1931, the dressing sheds were adapted as individual cubicles and new changing rooms and lavatories were built. In 1936 new cubicles, showers and a caf were built.
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