The Joy of Swimming in Lido’s…


Jenny Landreth of the Telegraph reports: The joy of swimming in lidos – and what they tell us about ourselves. There are people for whom the notion of a lido …is not appealing at all.  Some people would only consider dipping their toe into an outdoor pool on a Mediterranean summer holiday where the temperatures barely drop below 30 degrees. Some of course would prefer not to share with anyone outside immediate family. Some swimmers need a roof. And for ‘wild’ swimmers, lidos are restrictive boxes of chemically-treated water, offering none of the freedoms that being outdoors should bring…


…To my mind, lidos offer three very particular things: freedom, equality, and community. If all that sounds suspiciously French, it’s merely a happy coincidence because the nostalgia that surrounds them feels particularly British. Something in the solidly unpretentious architecture, and something in the water. Something cold. Maybe it should be part of our nationality exam: if you can get in freezing water then turn to your companions and say through gritted teeth ‘it’s fine once you get in’ you are British. There’s nothing, except maybe cake, we do as well as stoicism.


When the then Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Josiah Stamp, opened the Morecambe Lido in 1936 he said: ‘When we get down to swimming’ he said ‘we get down to democracy’.  He was right: we are all equal in a swimming cap…  Everywhere else, we’re prodded and pushed, cossetted and coddled, shouted at and sold to, from screens on the buses, in post office queues, up every escalator, and on our phones. Swimming in a lido puts all of that temporarily on hold. It may be a 90metre artificial box of bright blue tucked in a corner of Tooting Common, but when you get into the water you can be right at the heart of your day, feeling whatever it has to chuck at you. The freedom of solitude and the ability to forget quite where you are, while simultaneously celebrating it. These are simple pleasures. The joy of feeling free, and alive.More…


Did you know – The Lido is responsible for seismic shift in the nations attitude towards swimming. Read chapter 5 of the book: Hung Out to Dry – Swimming and British Culture; Lido’s Open, Rivers Close.


#London #history #riverswimming #wildswimming #Swimmingpool #lido #TravelandTourism

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...

Search by area by clicking the links:

Click the Pictures to learn more.