Lido’s 80th Birthday

The Parliament Hill Lido turns 80 years old on August 20th, and birthday celebrations will be held on the evening of Saturday August 25th.

For swimmers who love to read, two brilliant books will be on sale – Daisy Belle: Swimming Champion of the World and 21 Miles: Swimming in search of the meaning of motherhood by Jessica Hepburn. Drop by our stall and say hello!


The lido has been my swimming highlight for half a century now. Here’s a scrapbook from 1969:

The pool was built during the golden age of lido construction as part of a government drive to improve the nation’s health. Between 1930-39, at least 180 lidos were built in Britain. Herbert Morrison, leader of the London County Council, announced he would make the capital ‘a City of Lidos.’

Photo by Glyn Roberts

The Parliament Hill pool was expected to attract 200,000 people. and opened on Saturday August 20th, 1938. There were separate swimming hours for men and women – boys and men could swim for free in the early mornings five days a week, women and girls for 2 days a week – and more daringly there were also set hours for ‘mixed bathing’.

The full history of the lido is described in Taking the Waters