Lovely Lido

Splish, splash, splosh! Of all the joys of living in London Fields (and we’ve already established there are many) there is nothing to match the sheer unbridled brilliance of living right next to the lido.

Restoring the London Fields Lido is possibly the best thing Hackney council have ever done. It opened in April 1932, closed during the Second World War, re-opening in 1951. It closed again in 1986 and began its current glorious existence on Thursday 26 October 2006. What a triumph.

Unlike my pal Pidd, who has already discussed the joys of the lido, I do not have a season ticket. I’m not that disciplined, and also have problems committing myself to anything longer than about two weeks. But I go at least once a week and am rarely disappointed.

The best time I ever went to the lido was with my house mate Laura. We were on our bikes, all set to go to go to Highbury Pool on a freezing bright day in January. The type of day when the low-hanging sun sharpens every you see and you feel pink and happy after a stomp around a park. We ooh-ed and ahh-ed our way from the lockers to pool, with rapid tiptoes on cold tiles. When I sploshed straight in it was as warm as a bath. The feel of the water on my body and cold bright air on my face was entirely wonderful.

In summer the lido is packed with kids and slow-moving walrus and you are as likely to get a lane to yourself as find a turkey twizler on Broadway Market, but it’s still fun. You can sit dripping and happy eating an ice-cream on the sidelines. You can practice your handstands in the general swimming area. It doesn’t beat having a lane to yourself in winter, but it’s a different type of enjoyment.

Rare to have occasion to say this, but I think the lido warrants it: thank you Hackney council.

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Hi London Fields Lover

    The date of your eulogy on the wonderful lido above, just happens to also be the 70th Anniversary for Broomhill Pool in Ipswich which still awaits restoration. (Born April 30th 1938; closed in the autumn of 2002; ongoing campaign since that time.)

    The Open Day celebrating the anniversary was held on 26th (the nearest Saturday) with vintage cars parked outside the lido and an exhibition and archive of the pool’s past history and hopeful future.

    The London Fields story is an inspiration to me, partly because the lido was rescued after a campaign of nearly 20 years ( we are into our sixth year now) but also because the pool is open all the year round and available for serious length swimming too. Well done to all who played a part in this triumph.

  2. 2

    Zoe said,

    Have just posted my suggestions for happy pool using – please feel free to comment or add…. thanks, zoe


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