April opening for soon to be revamped Tooting Bec Lido

Published: Friday, January 28, 2022

Lido will be open to everyone from April 1st 2022 – a chance to enjoy the lido earlier in the year!

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Swimmers will be able to enjoy a dip in the welcoming waters of the Tooting Bec Lido earlier than usual this Spring with the pool opening its doors to the general public from the beginning of April.

The much-loved open-air pool normally remains open only to members of the South London Swimming Club during the colder winter months between October 1st and April 30th.

But this year it will be re-opening to all visitors around a month earlier to give people more time to enjoy a healthy and bracing outdoor swim.

The change will give local people more time to visit the lido and enjoy its facilities ahead of its £3m council-funded revamp which will be getting underway later in the year.

The money will be used to replace both pump houses at the lido with a single building incorporating a modern UV filtration system with new pipework, pool liner and electrical substation. Further improvements to be funded by the swimming club are also possible and could be delivered as part of the lido’s refurbishment.

The £3m investment will mean the pool’s important infrastructure is safeguarded for the next 50 years.

The lido, which dates back to 1906, is the largest open-air freshwater pool in the UK. It occupies a unique position in the history of British lidos due to its size and the era in which it was constructed. It is regularly described as the “jewel in the crown” of Wandsworth’s sports, leisure and fitness facilities.

Over many years a series of remedial works have been carried out by the council to keep the lido open, clean and safe for swimmers.

This has included the underpinning of the foundations to the two pump houses as a result of structural movement in 2000; the replacement of the pool liner in 2007; the addition of a new pavilion in 2017; and further underpinning work to the south pump house in 2019.

Every year more than 100,000 people visit the lido. The South London Swimming Club, which is based at the pool and is a well-established supporter and partner in the lido’s day to day management, continues to grow in popularity, rising from 1,549 members in 2018 to 2,717 members in 2021. The majority of members are aged between 40 years and 60 years of age with a female to male membership ratio of 59 per cent to 41.

The council’s community services spokesman Cllr Steffi Sutters said: “I’m delighted to be able to announce that the lido will be opening its doors to the general public almost a month earlier than normal this year.

“The period between October and the end of April is normally the preserve of our partners in the South London Swimming Club who play such a pivotal role in supporting and preserving the lido, and I’m grateful to them and also to our leisure management contractor Places Leisure for agreeing this change to its opening times which will allow people to enjoy the benefits of the lido sooner and for longer.

“We are of course on the brink of an exciting new phase in the lido’s long and illustrious history with the improvements soon to be delivered securing its future for at least another half century. This means the lido will be enjoyed not only by our children but by our grandchildren and great grandchildren.

“Having the finances available to do such a far reaching and comprehensive programme of works is the result of the council’s careful management of its finances. Without our prudent approach to protecting the public purse and seeking value for money in everything we do this cash would not be available.”

For more information about the lido, its opening times and to book a swim please visit the Places Leisure website.