The revival of the great British lido

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GIVEN Britain’s frequently rotten weather, it seems odd just how much Britons enjoy outdoor swimming. But they do, and the lido—a facility for al fresco swimming, bathing and socializing—is a treasured institution. These outdoor swimming pools, with cafes and expansive aprons of ground for sunbathing or picnicking on, were primarily built in the 1930s. By the 1990s, many were abandoned. But they are now gradually being brought back to life. This is thanks to the communities that love them, but also to the heritage bodies who recognise the architectural worth of these simple but stylish buildings, often with the quite deliberate look of an ocean-going liner about them.

Saltdean Lido (above), in Sussex, is just the most recent building to receive Grade II listing from Historic England, the statutory body in England and Wales in charge of historic preservation. The listing denotes a building that is of special interest, which warrants every effort to preserve it. Less than 5%…Continue reading

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