It’s official; the nation has declared its love of lidos and it looks like it’s a relationship that’s set to last, with a real renaissance taking place for the joy of outdoor swimming. The hot summer has also played its part with record-breaking numbers of people visiting lidos across the country, there’s been lots of talk about lidos and images of lidos have been shared extensively in the media and online. But what has always been difficult, is finding out the visitor information about lidos, particularly for those wanting to explore different options across the country. So swimmers will be delighted to hear that in Spring 2019, the Lido Guide will be published, a definitive guide to the vast array of Britain’s outdoor pools written by Janet Wilkinson and Emma Pusill. Janet and Emma set out with the ambition to feature every single open-air pool that survives in the UK, together with some that are on their way to being saved. They have been swimming their way around the UK over many years, and it’s through their shared passion for outdoor swimming that the Lido Guide was born.
The Lido Guide has already received a lot of interest from lidos and swimmers, with many backing the campaign that was launched via the specialist crowdfunding platform, Unbound, to get it published. This has included Historic Pools of Britain, who as the membership organisation for historic pools across the country has joined the hundreds of avid supporters, and has agreed to offer both financial and professional support to the project. As a result, readers of the Lido Guide won’t just be finding out about the grande dames of the lido world, they’ll also be able to find out more about the organisation and its work. Inspired by their personal passion, the book’s authors celebrate around 120 of the nation’s lidos to give an insight into the swimming opportunities that exist around the country; from art deco magnificence to simple saltwater pools, from large leisure facilities to small hidden away gems. The Lido Guide will introduce each pool and give a summary of all the key information necessary to access them, including changing room facilities, onsite refreshments and individual quirks. It will also feature plenty of pictures so that people know what to expect and can enjoy the spectacle of the different options. And by cataloguing all the pools into one handy sized-volume, outdoor swimmers can not only find out what’s near to them, they will also be able to indulge in the increasing trend for ‘swim tourism’; tying trips to lidos in with holidays or even providing the inspiration for a lido road trip!
Ensuring that the people have access to pools is an important message for Historic Pools of Britain, which established in 2015. Its membership, whilst featuring both indoor and outdoor pools, also represents both pools that are operating and those that have campaigns behind them to save them. These include some of the nation’s most important cultural and historic assets, such as Victoria Baths in Manchester and Cleveland Pools in Bath. Indeed at over 200 years old, Cleveland Pools is Britain’s oldest surviving public outdoor pool. It was closed in 1978 but is fortunate to have an active and determined community-led campaign working to get everything in place so that this Georgian pool can be restored and re-opened. To give a taste of what’s to come in the forthcoming Lido Guide, here’s a selection of the Historic Pools of Britain members that will feature in its pages, each offering something unique to encourage people to get outdoors and get swimming!