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13 November 2014

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You are in: Southern Counties > History > Sussex History > Rekindling love for the Lido

Saltdean Lido

Rekindling love for the Lido

The word "Lido" generally conjures up images of overgrown, derelict 1930's concrete pools, and the shabby, fading tiles of an age long gone. Now, the Lido is back, but it's our overseas cousins who are dipping their toes in the water first!

St Leonards Lido

St Leonards Lido

In its opening week alone, one of Europe's biggest swimming pools drew 20,000 people to St Leonards in Hastings! 

It was 1933, a time when outdoor swimming was highly fashionable and the "state of the art", saltwater 330 ft by 90 ft pool, brought Sussex to national attention.

The upper deck was used for roller skating, another highly fashionable sport at the time. But the Olympic sized area never made a profit after its first year and the council closed it in 1959.

Today, there's hardly any evidence of its existence.


Saltdean Lido

Saltdean Lido

One Sussex coastal pool which pulls in the crowds, but only when it is sunny, is the Saltdean Lido, designed in the late 1930's, in the Modern style, by Richard W H Jones, who also designed the town's Ocean Hotel.

However, current owner, Dennis Audley, says the grade-two listed Lido, had never made a profit and maintenance costs outweigh the income generated. In fact, it only brings in around half the amount of money he needs, just to maintain the building. 


Over the years the southern counties have lost  numerous outdoor pools and Lidos. So what is the solution?


Relaxing at the Lido

BBC's Natalie Graham travelled to Dieppe, to find out.

The french town boasts a one year old, outdoor, heated saltwater pool, which is open 365 days a year, sun or no sun! Les Bains, not only offers outdoor swimming, but indoor too, and salt-water treatments in the thalasso-therapy spa! 

The privately managed complex, cost €25 million to build, and €2 million to run, but only brings in €1.3 million in profit. So how does it survive?

The local government gives €700,000 to help it stay open to the public.

Lido banner



  • Burgess Hill Lido:
    Built in 1936. Closed in 1998
  • Purley Way Lido: 
    Built 1935. Closed 1979
  • Wandle Park Lido:
    Built 1913. Closed by 1979
  • Surbiton Lagoon:
    Built 1934. Closed 1980 
  • St Leonards Lido:
    Built  1933. Demolished 1986
  • Worthing Lido:
    Built 1897. Closed for swimming 1988
  • Brighton Black Rock Lido:
    Built 1936. Closed 1978.
Lido banner




Guildford Road, Aldershot, Hampshire GU12 4BP
Tel: 01252 323482

Opened in the Spring of 1930.  And still open daily from 30th June until 7th September 2008. Monday to Sunday 10am -7pm.  Bank Holidays 10am - 5pm

Hot and cold food picnic area. Basketball area. Sandpit. Three fun water slides. Spring diving board. Swimming accessories shop. Toddler paddling pool. Fountain feature.



Guildford Lido

Guildford Lido

Stoke Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 1HB
Tel: 01483 444888

Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2008, the Lido has been short listed as a possible 2012 Olympic training venue!  

Open:  Monday - Sunday: 10.30am - 6.30pm Public swimming
Tuesday & Thursdays: 7.00pm - 8.40pm Evening lane swim
Wednesdays: 8.00am - 10.00am Early morning swim



Saltdean Park Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 8SP
Tel: 01273 880616/ 01273 888308

Opened in the late 1930's, the Lido pool is 140ft by 66ft and can accommodate 500 bathers. During the Second World War,the pool was used as a water tank by the National Fire Service in the nearby Ocean Hotel.

Open 7am to 9pm. 10am - 6pm weekends. Check before you visit as weather dependant.  



Padded Lillies

Brook Street, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 2PW
Tel. 01273 472334

First open in 1860, the Pells Pool boasts of being the oldest and one of the largest open air swimming pools in the country!

The Pells Pool is open daily from May 17th 2008 to September 7th 2008.
Open 12 noon - 7pm daily - (last ticket 6.30pm)
Sometimes until 9 pm in fine weather.
In order to keep costs down the pool may be closed early in wet weather



Olympos, Triangle Leisure Centre, Triangle Way, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 8GA
Tel: 01444 876000

The pool complex which includes the heated outdoor Lido, was built to replace the Burgess Hill Lido in St John's Park which was closed in 1998.

Lido opens May to September:
Weekdays 10.00am – 8.00pm, Saturdays and Sundays 10.00am – 6.00pm



Queen street, Arundel.
Tel: 01904 882404

25m main pool, 5m splash pool with easy entry steps and link to main pool. Large separate children's paddling pool. Light refreshments available.

Arundel’s open-air lido was originally built in 1960 following a donation of land from the 16th Duke of Norfolk to celebrate the 21st  birthday of his eldest daughter, Lady Anne.

Open 7 days a week from late May to early September.
Open 12 noon to 7pm normally |10 am - 7pm during school summer holiday

Lido banner


last updated: 26/08/2008 at 10:06
created: 21/08/2008

Have Your Say

Do you remember visiting your local Lido? Do you still visit one in your area? Let us know.

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Claire Lockwood
I remember visiting the St Leonards Lido before its closure in 1986. I was at seconardy school and we went during the summer hols of 1983/84. It was wonderful, a real asset to the area and the site now is just empty. Having lived in Germany and travelled in Europe it is very rare to find a small community without an outdoor pool. Lets make a stand and bring back outdoor pools in this country.

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