Swimming for Putney-The Saltdean Lido
Oh dear. Saltdean Lido was built in 1937 as the crown to the art deco garden suburb development five miles east of Brighton. Beautifully situated between the Downs and the cliffs, It was used as a water tank during the war ,it staggered on, too far from Brighton to be viable, its season too short to make money,the target of several developers until it was closed in 2012. 120 flats were planned for the site.
Then locals formed an action group, got Heritage Lottery money, crowdfunding and got the magnificent ocean liner of a complex, all curves and Hockney blue tiles up and swimming. It reopened on June 17.
The pool is working,the changing rooms basic, the facilities non existent and the day I went there were more attendants than swimmers. Yesterday was a dull weekday and school holidays haven’t started,so maybe unfair to judge, but much needs to be done. Lidos that succeed like Brockwell and Tooting are surrounded by low income families who love a day out by a pool. Satldean is very much semi detatched.
To rub in its problems last Sunday vandals broke in,smashed glass and heaved rocks into the pool.£1200 was the cost of the damage, not much after the £3m spend but saddening and deeply symbolic.
But for me the day was a success. Brighton with its crazy mixture of stoned locals, oldies, undergraduates and processions of nubile language students, its antiques, its pier,Pavilion,its Green MP,its gay in every sense flavour and style is always worth the 45 minute train ride from Clapham Junction.
Buses go every few minutes along the coast ,east to Saltdean, a road I had never taken, past dinky Rottingdean, ultra posh Roedean school, all along the mini white cliffs until snug in its valley the distinctive 40 metre harp shape of the pool and Queen Mary of the main building. Now proudly bearing the slogan Saltdean Lido,The People’s Pool.
Of course its unpopularity yesterday added to my pleasure as a man who swims for his lunch. Which was had across the road down on the beach in the White Cliff Cafe. Also a work in progress. Toilets for customers only. A very good value paella was served by an extremely attractive Japanese lady, something very Brighton about that mixture. I hope the Lido survives for I will now go at least once a year. https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=kuFMX%2fL3&id=35922AD96DFB328D7E7096559554E3753855D8C9&thid=OIP.kuFMX_L34ddclSXwgMFTpAEsDA&q=saltdean+lido&simid=608014929442898995&selectedIndex=0&ajaxhist=0