Tuesday 7 October 2008

Whatever happened to the Thames Lido?

I bought a slightly-out-of-date-and-therefore-really-cheap guide to the Thames a little while back, and found an intriguing entry for the Thames Lido, due to be completed in 2001. There was a precedent for such a floating pool: around 1875, a floating swimming bath was moored in the river at Charing Cross. It was a covered building containing a large pool with deep and shallow ends, changing cubicles, and even a bridge to dive from. The water was drawn from the Thames, filtered and heated. Admission was one shilling.

Obviously the lido never did appear, which is a real shame: it would have been an Olympic-size pool, 40 metres out into the river, which rose and fell with the tide. A clear covering was to offer swimmers all-round London views, and could close to protect them from bad weather. See the architects' image here.

So what went wrong? Unfortunately, it proved just too expensive - and so disappeared like so many British lidos. Instead, the current plan is for an ordinary indoor pool - as part of a controversial high-rise development.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One more lido is likely to disappear forever if plans to fill in Broomhill Pool with £55,000 worth of sand and £20,000 of granular infill are voted through.

The Executive Committee of Ipswich Borough Council are meeting on 16th December 2008 to consider a Pools Option report. This includes recommendations to fill in the Grade II Listed Olympic-sized lido, Broomhill Pool, for "health and safety" reasons.

Mrs Judy Terry, the Portfolio Holder for Leisure, said that the pool would be filled with foam or some other innate material. However the report itself details £20,000 for "granular infill or similar to base to ensure ground pressure" and £55,000 for sand or similar material to fill the rest of the lido.

I believe this could be the beginning of the end if the Council carry out these measures. The Ipswich lido was closed in the autumn of 2002 without warning or consultation and a continuous campaign has been fought since that time, to see the Grade II Listed pool restored and re-opened.