Swimming Pools and Lidos

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:

Brockwell Lido

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.

Charlton Lido

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.

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