Brockwell Swimmers was started by a group of Lido users keen to see more swimming activities at this historic South London landmark. As well as events at the Lido, the club organises indoor Water Polo and Swim Sessions at local indoor pools, as well as taking part in national and international club events and swims.
To sign up for your FREE membership click here (currently 513 members).
History of Brockwell Lido
The Lido was originally opened in 1937 to replace the natural public bathing ponds in the park. The Lido would remain open during the war, though one swimming gala was cancelled in 1944 due to a feared flying bomb attack. From 1947 to 1968 the London Swimming Championships were also held at Brockwell Lido. However, after much neglect and declining usage, the pool was closed by Lambeth Council in 1990.
For 4 years the pool lay empty until two former council employees, Casey and Paddy, won the management contract and reopened the lido in 1994. “It was a time when we let as many things happen as possible just for fun, not necessarily making money, giving people chance to try things out”. However, the future of the Lido again came into question when mounting maintenance costs forced the duo to resign their tender in 2001.
Rebirth of the Lido
This sparked a strong campaign by local swimmers who produced a survey containing 4,674 signatures from Brockwell Lido visitors that demonstrated the community’s intense attachment to the space. This forced a dialogue with Lambeth Council, resulting in a new three-way framework involving the council, users, and a site management company.
Various management companies were approached and the winning tender was awarded to Fusion Lifestyle who won a 25 year contract to redevelop and run the site (3 million pounds from Fusion and ½ million pounds from English Heritage).
The main alternation to the building was the moving of the south west wall six metres further into the park. English Heritage chose this solution from a number of options developed by Pollard Edwards Thomas architects. Moving this elevation doubled the size of the old changing rooms allowing Fusion to replace these with a new gym and spa complex, ensuring the economic viability of the lido as a whole.
The ‘wet’ changing rooms were then moved next to the new entrance on the south east side. Work was completed in July 2007, just in time for the Summer season and the Lido’s 70th birthday.
At first the pool was only open during the Summer, but with the increased popularity of cold water swimming, the unheated pool is now open all year round. Hurrah! As well as the fabulous pool, the building also contains a gym, sauna, steam room, exercise studios, a very fine café… and some very, very enthusiastic swimmers.