Historic Pools of Britain celebrated its first full year in 2016, and what a year it was for the organisation that gives a voice to many of the country’s forgotten pools. Made up of 15 member pools, Historic Pools of Britain recognises the significant role that historic pools play in our communities and the contribution that they make to the architectural history of Great Britain. Among the success stories of its members in 2016 is Park Road Lido in London, which enjoyed its first full season of swimming since Fusion Lifestyle’s £8millon refurbishment of the whole site. As a result, swimmer numbers were significantly increased, in particular in the school summer holidays.
The lido has also been used by the BBC and various other film companies as a set for films and adverts – a summer season trend that seems to be growing for all lidos and historic indoor pools. HIGHLY PROFITABLE Elsewhere, Brockwell Lido in London experienced its busiest summer season on record and Hinksey Pool in Oxford had a successful and profitable year, generating 60,000 swims with income levels up by 20% on 2015. Manchester’s Victoria Baths also enjoyed a year of milestones in 2016.
The Business Plan for Phase 2 was completed; this £4.5m project will comprise the restoration and re-opening of the Turkish Baths suite with an accompanying health suite. The open air heated swimming pool in Jubilee Park Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire has continued to thrive under community ownership with an increase in visitors in 2016. Early morning adult only swims have proved so popular that they are now running six days a week.
Open air midnight swims have been particularly successful, as has a programme of film screenings with Kinema in the Woods, which are now taking place four or five times a season, with iconic showings of titles such as Top Gun and Jaws. In addition to the actual revenue, these events are bringing people to the pool who might not otherwise come. Looking ahead, the team behind Broomhill Outdoor Pool in Ipswich is busy preparing the second stage application for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund Heritage Enterprise scheme. The application is due to be submitted in Spring 2017 and will propose the complete restoration of the site, including the reinstatement of both swimming pools, the site’s iconic clock tower and the associated grandstand and sun terraces.
“2016 was a year that saw both excitement and disappointment for pools across the nation,” comments Clare Short of Historic Pools of Britain. “But what has been very clear is the nation’s passion for historic pools and the need for representation. Collectively we are starting to make our voices heard and we look forward to continuing this work in 2017.”