The Grange Lido Archive

Save Grange Lido holds a rich archive of photos, documents and artefacts. Some of these date back to the design and build of Grange Lido in the 1930s. The lido’s archive also includes items held by the Lancashire Archives, Kendal’s Archive and other regional archives.

In 2022, we secured funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to help us to properly catalogue, protect and store the Grange Lido archive.

We held two public events, giving people an opportunity to donate items to our lido archive. We also invited people to share their memories of the lido. We heard fascinating tales from former lifeguards, lido staff and lots of people who remember swimming in the pool and – in particular – diving of the lido’s high diving boards!

Below are some of the highlights of the current Grange Lido archive. We hope that, when the lido is restored and reopened, items from the archive will be on display in a dedicated area celebrating the pool’s history.

But the archive is by no means complete! At the bottom of the page, you’ll find details of how you can donate or contribute to our growing archive.

Plans for an Open Air Bathing and Swimming Pool, 1930

The earliest items in the lido archive are the original plans, which date from 1930. The decision to build a lido was taken in 1930, with funding from the Unemployed Grants Committee of the Ministry of Health. The funding was aimed at projects that would have public benefit and provide work for locally unemployed men.

Photos of the lido under construction (1931/32)

These fascinating photos capture the lido being built, either in 1931 or 1932. The photos were donated to SGL at one of our local history days in November 2022. Look at how different the construction site is from a modern construction site. Not a hard hat in sight!

Opening brochure, 1932

The lido opened in 1932. The Souvenir Programme advised that the “Official Opening of the Grange-over-Sands Bathing Pool”, by the Earl of Derby, took place in the presence of Lord and Lady Balneil, Lord Richard Cavendish and Lady Moyra Cavendish, various Town Mayors and their Ladies along with their Town Clerks, Miss Knowles – the Cotton Queen of Britain, Miss Alys Milner – Beauty Queen of the North, the Windsor Water Woollies Girls, the Bee Bee Biscuit Company’s Aquatic Squadron, past Olympic Champion swimmers, and members of the press and public.

A wide range of displays and activities took place during the opening ceremony. These included swimming and diving displays, and a fashion parade of ‘Water Woollies, Lido Suits and Beach Ensembles’!

Archive amateur film, 1932

The North West Film Archive includes two pieces of archive film, recorded by visitors to Grange Lido. The films provide a fascinating snapshot of the fashion and styles of the day, as well as allowing us to really see what the building and pool looked like at the time it opened.

You can view one of the films for free on the BFI website here:

Watch Grange Lido online – BFI Player

Brochure from Beauty Contest (1933)

Grange Lido has a long tradition of swimming races and galas, but it also used to hold other competitions, like beauty contests. This brochure is from the ‘Miss Grange-over-Sands’ Beauty Contest, held in 1933. The brochure lists the varied events that took place on the day, including an ‘Exhibition of Sensational Diving by Mr. Arthur Wilkie including the Fire Dive, Bike Dive and Monte Cristo Sack Dive’. There are also some fascinating adverts for woollen swimsuits which were all the rage at the time!

Oral history: Memories of swimming at the lido 

Not all the items in are archive are material objects. We also have a growing collection of ‘oral histories’ – recorded stories and memories that people have told us about their recollections of the pool. We are hoping to collect more oral histories at future events.

Grange Amateur Swimming Club trophies

There are over 35 swimming and diving trophies in the lido archive, dating from when the lido first opened in 1932 to the 1990s. Some trophies continued to be awarded even later, as competitions moved to other pools after the lido’s closure.

Visitor photo, 1970s

We have hundreds of photos in the Grange Lido archive. Many of them are holiday snaps, captured by tourists who remember visiting the pool on their holidays. By the 1970s, the highest diving board was no longer open to the public, for safety reasons, though the lower boards continued to be popular.

Caution deep water sign, date unknown

Some of the largest items from the lido archive are a collection of original wooden signs, rescued from the lido after it closed. The signs are currently in the possession of Save Grange Lido. We hope to preserve them and to have them on display when the lido finally reopens!

School newspaper, 1980s

We have many official and formal documents in our archive, including newspaper articles, council documents and tourism brochures. But we also have personal documents like this school newspaper – telling the story of a school girl breaking her arm during a visit to the lido. The paper’s headline asks ‘will the boards be bannd’.

Paper hats, 1990s

When the lido closed in 1993, the site was abandoned, leaving the poolside buildings feeling a bit like the Mary Celeste. Over recent years, Save Grange Lido have been rescuing items left behind when the lido closed suddenly. As well as signage and larger artefacts, this also includes ephemera like 100s of these fetching paper hats.

If you have any photographs or memories of the lido from before it closed in 1993 and would like to share them with us, please do get in touch.

You can email us at or we can be contacted at Room 2, Victoria Hall, Main Street, Grange-over-Sands, LA11 6DP.

Drop in to Room 2 at the Vic between 10am and 3pm on a Wednesday or Thursday. Our telephone number is 015395 92149 – please leave a message if the office is closed and someone will get in touch once we are back open.

This project was funded by a grant awarded to Save Grange Lido by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2022; ‘Swan dives and high slides – tales from the Grange Lido archive’

As part of the project a wonderful film was created by Gary Cunliffe and Joe Dodd. The Loveliest Spot On The Lakeland Coast.

Two information boards were also created which are currently displayed on the site hoardings during phase 1 of the restoration works. If you can’t get to the promenade in Grange you can view the boards by clicking the images.

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