Craig explores the history of the Art Deco Lido and shares some exciting news of a local restoration
Thanks to the 1930’s almost 170 outdoor swimming pools, or Lidos, were built in the UK. They were a place to relax, take in the air and exercise. With stunning Art Deco architecture, the pools saw a decline in the 1960’s due to less expensive air fairs taking UK citizens over seas for summer holidays. Sadly the vast majority closed and went into rapid decline and dereliction.
The Lido in Ipswich, Suffolk, UK opened it’s doors to the local residents and those from local towns and villages in 1938. An iconic Art Deco design, it saw many a happy year, and in its heyday, the pool had five diving boards, a grandstand that could seat 700, and it catered for as many as 2,000 visitors a day. But like many others it struggled for a number of years to remain open, and finally closed it’s doors in 2002 as it was unsafe. Run down, crumbling and neglected it has been laying like a sleeping beauty, poisoned by the witch of the modern age.
While attempts to have the Lido restored progressed, friends and lovers of the Grade II listed Lido saw that the pool was drained and refilled on a regular basis in an attempt to maintain the structure of the pool. The restoration campaign gained momentum, and with almost 19,000 signatures and a Heritage Lottery grant of £3.4m things looked very promising. With a further £1m provided by the local council and a further two raised by fitness and leisure charity Fusion Lifestyle, the cash needed to begin the restoration was raised.
Now, with the necessary funds in place, the Save Broomhill Pool team have set plans in place for a complete restoration. Work to wake the sleeping beauty begins at the end of this year and the pool is set to reopen again in 2020. The plans look stunning, and I personally cannot wait for the day that the doors reopen and we can once again enjoy the pool the way it was supposed to be.
With a new replica clock tower and heated water for the first time since the boilers were turned off in 1940, the pool will be part of a wider complex which will also include a brand new health and wellbeing centre, galleries, displays and events such as film screenings. This is all thanks to the hard work and dogged determination of the team from Save Broomhill Pool.
While there is money now on the table, the team would still appreciate any additional donations, so if, like me you’re a fan of the Lido and want to offer a small donation, you can do so HERE. Thank you from the team and from me.
I’ll of course keep you updated on the pool’s progress, but in the meantime I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you live near a derelict Lido? Maybe the one near you has been restored? Either way, what are your thoughts? Feel free to leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you.