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The Vintage Guide To London | December 18, 2017

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London’s Art Deco lidos – bathe like a flapper

London’s Art Deco lidos – bathe like a flapper

The term lido comes from Lido di Venezia, the sandy barrier beach that encloses the Lagoon of Venice where sea-bathing took place from the later nineteenth century.

The golden age of lidos and outdoor swimming pools was in the Thirties, when swimming became very popular, and over 169 lidos were built across the UK. Sadly, many are now closed thanks to our habit of holidaying abroad, however a few Art Deco masterpieces remain open in London.

london-fields-lidoBuilt in the early Thirties, London Fields Lido is the capital’s only Olympic-size heated outdoor pool. Despite its size, it can get really busy, especailly on a hot day.

London Fields Lido
Nearest Tube: Bethnal Green



The four Park Road Pools in Crouch End include the Park Road Lido, which opened in 1929 when it was called Hornsey Lido.

Park Road Pools
London N8 8JN
Nearest Tube: Highgate


Hampton Pool, a heated open air lido, was built in 1922. It briefly closed in the Eighties but a local campaign successfully prevented the demolition and eventually brought about the re-opening.
Nearest train station: Hampton



Parliament Hill Lido was opened in 1938 and is situated on the edges of Hampstead Heath. It’s a great alternative to the three swimming ponds on the Heath but remains equally unheated.

Parliament Hill Lido
London NW5 1LP
Nearest Tube: Gospel Oak rail


Charlton Lido was opened in 1939 and has remained open thanks to the efforts of the Charlton Lido Swimming Club who brave the weather in this unheated pool come rain or shine. Recently Greenwich Council has been given the go-ahead to speak tothe owner about refurbishment plans for the lido, which could see facelift for the main pool and a new 35-metre deep diving centre.

Charlton Lido
Shooters Hill Road
London, SE18 4LX
Nearest Tube: Greenwich



Tooting Bec Lido opened in 1906 as the earliest purpose-built open air pool in London. It is the largest one in England. The pool was altered in the Thirties and new cubicles replaced the old changing sheds.

Tooting Bec Lido
SW16 1RU
Nearest Tube: Tooting Bec



Brockwell Lido was built by the London County Council in 1937. An Art Deco Grade II listed building, the lido –  which is lovingly known as Brixton’s Beach – today features many modern facilities such as a gym and studios.

Brockwell Lido
Dulwich Road
Herne Hill
London Se24 0PA

Nearest Tube: use Herne Hill Rail


  1. just to say that Charlton lido has been re-opened in July 2012! I have many happy memories of swimming there as a child in the late 80s, when it closed in 1988, such a sad event. Thank God the fab 1930s structure has been retained, got to love the circular doorway, soooo deco! x

    Please see for more info on the reopening!

  2. The lido is also featured in “the” new book about London’s Art Deco Heritage:
    “Modernism London Style. The Art Deco Heritage”