The Magazine of Lenton Local History Society

Highfields Lido


1924 - 1980 | After the Lido Closed | Pathe News - 1924 | Lenton Listener Article | Memories | Map


Commissioned by Sir Jesse Boot as part of the public park that he provided for the Nottingham populace, Highfields Lido was opened in 1924. It remained in use until the end of the Summer season 1980, when the City Council decided to close the facility.


Photographs


1924 - 1980

Photograph courtesy of Picture the Past

Photograph courtesy of Nottingham Local Studies Library

Photograph courtesy of Picture the Past

The entrance to the Lido with the bell tower above it, the year after the Lido was first opened. The original version of this photograph is from the Picture the Past collection. Click here and get more details about the photograph and check out how you can acquire your own copy of this image.

A shot taken through one of the arches focuses on the slide at the deep end with the bell tower and entrance block visible in the distance.

A similar vintage photograph, as in the previous photograph also from Picture the Past. Click here for more details. The Lido’s architect, Percy Morley Horder, drew on the Roman style of architecture and used red brick walling and pantile roofing for the main buildings, incorporating archways in front of the rows of changing cubicles to break up the line of the building.

Photograph courtesy of Picture the Past

Photograph courtesy of Picture the Past

Photograph courtesy of Nottingham Local Studies Library

Also from the Picture the Past collection (click here for more details), this 1925 shot gives the viewer a clear impression of the overall size of the Lido. 300 feet long and 75 feet wide, it was reputed to be the largest inland pool in the country when it first opened.

A 1932 shot, taken from the Picture the Past collection (click here for more details), shows a group of girls from a local guide pack enjoying the delights of the Lido. 1932 is also significant in that this was the year when the Lido was handed over to the Nottingham Corporation. Prior to this, it had been run by a Trust set up by Sir Jesse Boot.

Only a small amount of space at Highfields Lido was available for those who just wanted to sunbathe. In order to increase the available sunbathing area, in 1936 a sun deck was installed across the width of the pool, which effectively created two separate pools. Given the presence of the sun deck in this photograph, which comes from the Picture the Past collection (click here for more details), it must date from at least the latter half of the 1930s.

Photograph courtesy of Nottingham Post

Photograph courtesy of Paul Bexon

This undated photograph of the Lido contains a close up of part the sun deck along with the original sun bathing area to its right.

We have 1944 as the date for this photograph. It would appear that the water itself [always rather cold] was less of an attraction than comporting oneself on the sun deck or elsewhere in the Lido.

Taken in August 1946 George Bexon poses for his photograph outside the walls of Highfield Lido with his granddaughter, Angela, in the pram.

Photograph courtesy of Nottingham Post

Photograph courtesy of Paul Bexon

Taken in 1947 these three youths enter the pool via one of the slides at Highfields Lido. The base of the structure containing the diving boards can be seen in the background.

A two year old Paul Bexon poses for his picture at the lido in 1959. The pattern made by the ceramic tiles is clearly evident in this photograph as is one of the slides situated over at the deep end of the pool.

Our first colour photograph of the Lido was taken in 1972 and shows a group of children posing at the shallow end of the pool.

Photograph by Chris Noble

Photograph by Chris Noble

Photograph by Chris Noble

A shot of the Lido in 1980 - the final season, looking across the pool to the bell tower and lido entrance.

Another 1980 shot of the Highfields Lido with what was then the University’s Geology building in the background. The sundeck present in earlier photographs was removed in the early 1950s as it was found to interfere with the proper filtration of the pool and proved exceedingly difficult to keep clean.

This and the two previous photograph were supplied by Chris Noble. In 1963 an extra 2,300 square yards of land at the side of the Lido was added to the Lido facilities in order to enlarge the sunbathing area – this can be seen in the photograph. Chris Noble also contributed an article in Lenton Times Issue 29 entitled ‘Highfields Lido: A Grand Obsession’ which detailed his longstanding love affair with the Lido.


After the Lido Closed

The Lido failed to open for the 1981 season. The facility lay unused for almost ten years while the site was up for sale. Eventually the land was sold to the University and the site incorporated into the campus.

Photograph courtesy of Picture the Past

Photograph courtesy of Nottingham Post

Taken from the Picture the past collection (click here for more details) this photograph carries the date 9 December 1981. Clearly taken as a record of the building, after its formal closure, the bell tower and entrance block look much as they did back in the 1920s.

This photograph taken from the Nottingham Post's collection clearly taken from the University's Geology building shows the Lido site some time in the 1980s.

This aerial photograph is taken from a picture postcard produced in the 1980s. It shows Highfields Park and boating lake plus part of the University campus. In the bottom of the picture the photographer has also captured a view of the Lido as it waited to discover its eventual fate.

Photograph by Chris Noble

Photograph courtesy of Mellors and Kirk

Photograph courtesy of John Hibbitt

That fate was the eventual arrival of demolition men and this photograph taken by Chris Noble in 1990 shows the buildings after partial demolition. The roof pantiles and the top of the bell tower have already been removed and the pool itself is full of rubble.

In 2015 the brass bell from the Lido's bell tower was put up for auction having been ‘rescued' back in 1990 when the Lido was being demolished. This is the photograph of it provided by the auctioneers, Mellors and Kirk. The bell would have been rung in the evening to alert anyone still swimming or more likely sunbathing that the Lido would shortly be closing for the day.

This photograph, taken by John Hibbitt, shows the bell on display at the auction. It eventually went £260 plus the buyer's premium – beyond the reach of Lenton Local History Society, who had hoped to acquire it for their collection.

Photograph by Geoffrey O. Ogle - 2009

 Photograph by Paul Bexon - June 2015

This photograph taken in 2009 shows part of what the University eventually built on the site. The buildings include an art gallery and plus a base for the Music department. More recently a music rehearsal hall has been added to the site and the Archeology Museum has been rehoused in one of the new buildings. The use of pantiles on the roofs of the new buildings was supposed to echo what had gone before.

The back of the old Lido site now houses a stretch of the new tramline between Nottingham and Toton.


Pathe News - 1924

The formal opening ceremony for Highfields Lido took place in the Spring of 1924. Pathé News was there to film the occasion when John Burns addressed the local dignitaries and formally opened the pool. After his speech those present watched a local water polo team in action. The following images are taken that film. Those who would like to watch the silent footage (we hadn't reached the age of the ‘talkies' yet) should click here to be taken to the relevant section of the Pathé News website.

Photograph courtesy of British Pathé News

Photograph courtesy of British Pathé News

Photograph courtesy of British Pathé News

Photograph courtesy of British Pathé News

Photograph courtesy of British Pathé News

Photograph courtesy of British Pathé News

John Burns (1858-1943) had been a Liberal Member of Parliament who had served as a government minister under both Campbell-Bannerman and H.H. Asquith. He was President of the Board of Trade but resigned from the Government when it became clear that Britain intended to declare war on Germany. He played no role in the war and left parliament in 1918. He was anti-alcohol and a great enthusiast for sporting activity. For these reasons plus his political affiliation to the Liberal Party John Burns was invited by Sir Jesse Boot to become the guest of honour at the Lido's opening.


Lenton Listener Articles

Articles from 'The Lenton Listener' Magazine


Highfields Lido - Issue 18 - May to June 1982



Memories


Let us know your memories of Highfields Lido



Do you have any historical information or other photographs of this road? If so, email us with the details or write to us.




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