British lidos are a much-cherished part of our national heritage and a highlight of summertime; many of us harbour fond memories of splashing around in the cooling waters during the long school holidays or taking a quick dip as a much-needed respite from stifling summers working in our towns and cities.
During the 1930s, considered the golden age of the lidos, around 169 were built for the bathing pleasure of urbanites. Today, only 52 of these remain. Now the importance of restoring these historical landmarks is at last being recognised and a national organisation is being formed to protect, preserve and promote Britain’s beautiful — and neglected — lidos.
On 30 September, Historic Pools of Britain will begin its work to care Britain’s fragile historic lidos, as well as hundreds of indoor pools in the UK, mostly pre-dating 1939.
Founder Gill Wright said the organisation has been established to help individuals, community groups and organisations involved in the protection, restoration and operation of heritage baths across the country. It will also celebrate these buildings by shining a spotlight on their contribution to the nation’s social and architectural history and recognising the important role they continue to play in our communities today. She said: “This is an opportunity above all else to share our knowledge and experience through better connectivity between everyone involved in the rescue, restoration and running of historic swimming pools, from small community groups through to larger operating companies and local authorities.”