Swimming History: Tarlair Open Air Swimming Pool


In its heyday, the Tarlair open air swimming pool complex on the outskirts of Macduff was the last word in outdoor leisure.

Tarlair Open Air Pool


Built in 1931, the swimming pool was a haven in the summer holidays for locals and tourists alike but the site has lain empty since 1991.


In 2007, Tarlair was first outdoor baths in Scotland to be granted Category-A listed status.


A report on the pool by Addison Conservation and Design, who are experts in historic conservation, states: “Tarlair Swimming Pool appears to have been seriously undervalued by many as a place in local history with a unique landscape setting, and as a very special example of emerging concrete engineering in a stunning piece of 1930s architecture.


“A review about how to think about the place is long overdue and the assumption that it has to be redeveloped to survive is, we believe, flawed and dangerous. It is not too late for a realistically deliverable and sympathetic approach to Tarlair despite the negative rumors about the condition of the place and despite the pessimism expressed by the many visitors we have met during our investigations. Most local people and visitors are horrified at the devastation they see there and the final prospects of complete loss from the neglect of a fine asset to Macduff and Banff. However there is now a willingness to see an end to the vacuum and the decline of Tarlair.”


The consultants add: “Tarlair is a place of outstanding national and international importance for the quality of its architecture, its completeness, the rarity of part of its early concrete structure, its picturesque and dramatic natural setting, its scientifically based interaction with the sea, its role in looking after the wellbeing and health of people, its courage in the use of municipal money, its social history and community benefit.” More…


British swimming history is important, its link with British culture and social history cannot be overstated.


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Take a trip back in time! Discover just how many official ASA recommended outdoor swimming facility's were available to a nation keen to take the plunge back in 1912...

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