About The Lido

Is it Lido as in Fido or Leedo as in Speedo? No one seems to know for sure. The word originates from Lido di Venezia – the Venice Lido.

1930s England saw a huge health drive and during that decade local authorities commissioned the building of 180 open air swimming pools around the country, principally in seaside resorts. The small Lancashire town of Grange Over Sands joined the Lido craze in 1932 when ‘Grange Open Air Bathing Pool’ or ‘Grange Baths’, as locals affectionately referred to it, opened to much fanfare. Local dignitaries were all there on a sunny afternoon in August including the ladies sporting the latest fashion in bathing wear – the woollen bathing costume!

The Opening Ceremony 18th August 1932; left the Cotton Queen, below the Bee Bee Water Squadron

Grange Baths became a focal point for the community with bathers coming  from far and wide by train on the Furness Line – a part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. The pool hosted many events over the years including beauty contests, competitive galas and synchronised swimming. It was the place to be seen on a summer’s day.

The pool at Grange is built in the Art Deco style and its historical significance has earned the structure a Grade II listing. The pool is a unique mushroom shape and the architect was careful in his design work, with the terraces resembling a sports stadium and, when viewed from the Bay, the seawalls and diving podium resemble the stern of an ocean liner. The pool featured a slide, kids paddling pool and a diving platform, with the highest boards proving a challenge for even the bravest swimmers. The pool was filled with filtered sea water from Morecambe Bay; saltwater aids buoyancy for swimmers. The water was not heated and many locals fondly remember the bracing experience of diving straight in!

Grange Baths opened every season from the end of May until the start of September and celebrated its 60th birthday in 1992.

Sadly the celebrations wouldn’t last. In 1993 serious leaks were found in the pool basin and South Lakeland District Council decided the repair costs were not justified. Lidos were seen as a relic from a bygone age. Many had fallen by the wayside with the popularity of foreign holidays, and from the 1960’s onwards local authorities were urged to replace outdoor pools with indoor heated pools which were considered to be the way forward. Grange Lido closed during the 1993 season and was largely neglected for the next thirty years.

Ten years after the closure of the Lido, an indoor pool was built in Grange Over Sands. Berners Pool was an indoor 25 metre pool, a stone’s throw away from the Lido. Sadly Berners only lasted a few years. Structural and financial problems meant this pool was to suffer the same fate as the town’s original pool. Between 2007 and 2013 Grange had the sad distinction of having two derelict swimming pools. The Berners pool was demolished and the site is now used for housing.

But this was not the end of the story for the Lido. In recent years there has been a resurgence in outdoor swimming, and pools up and down the country have been restored and reopened and are thriving. The time has come to awaken this sleeping beauty.


The Future

With the renaissance in lidos and outdoor swimming nationally, Grange finds itself in the privileged position to have a magnificent Art Deco Lido.

Save Grange Lido is working closely with Westmorland and Furness Council (WFC) to restore the facility in two major stages.

Stage one commenced in Spring 2023 and is expected to take a least a year to complete. This work will see WFC spend approximately £4.8m on restoring the terracing, sea defences and central pavilion. SGL is getting ready to submit a planning application for Phase 2 of the restoration. Our plans will see it fully restored as an historic community lido, enriching everyone’s lives. We are currently in the process of raising funds for the second phase of the restoration.

At a time when health, wellness and community engagement are in the fore, an outdoor pool will be a valuable asset, fun for our children and will strengthen the seaside appeal of Grange.

Grange Lido is very fortunate to have a good range of useful buildings which present excellent opportunities to generate income to cover the running costs of the whole facility. The imaginative use of these buildings is the key to the successful redevelopment and future of the Lido and SGL’s plans include a café/restaurant, health and fitness room, community rooms and a Changing Places facility in addition to the pool.

The Lido will be an attractive destination for people from a large catchment area and bring important social and economic benefits to the entire Morecambe Bay area and beyond. An independent assessment of SGL’s business plan estimated that a fully restored Lido would bring £8.05m in lifetime health benefits and £5.1m in lifetime well-being benefits.

About Save Grange Lido Ltd

Save Grange Lido Ltd incorporated as a Community Benefit Society in January 2019. The Society is an exempt charity registered with HMRC for the purpose of Gift Aid.

The Society has grown year upon year, and now comprises people from a range of different backgrounds and specialisms. It includes experts in leisure management, lido operation, business, civil engineering, restoration of historic buildings, tourism, marketing, planning, law, IT, journalism, history and architecture, as well as concerned mums, dads and grandparents. All those involved in the Society are volunteers.

Save Grange Lido Ltd has developed partnerships with a large network of organisations, including the National Trust, Cumbria Tourism, Morecambe Bay Partnership, Historic Pools of Britain and the Eden Project Morecambe.

Please join us and lend your support by subscribing to our e-newsletter

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