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Britain’s oldest lido to be restored after falling into disrepair

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Britain’s oldest lido is to be fully restored and reopened to the public after being closed for more than 30 years.

Cleveland Pools in Bath has received £4.7m lottery funding to allow supporters to repair the deteriorating 200-year-old structure and make it suitable for year-round swimming.

The baths first opened in 1815 after the Bathwick Water Act which banned nude bathing in the city’s river.

It closed in 1984 and had a brief second life as a trout farm but has fallen into disrepair. It’s been maintained by volunteers and more than £800,000 has been raised to help the renovation work.

An artist impression of the restored baths
Image:
An artist impression of the restored baths

The plans include a 25-metre swimming pool, children’s splash area, pavilion and cafe for the public. Water will be naturally treated and heated with alternative energy sources.

The pools will also be available for water-related activities like scuba-diving and canoeing, and there are plans to allow it to be used for theatre workshops.

But the original features of the Grade II listed Georgian building will be maintained, including its crescent shape, which mimics the city’s renowned architecture.

The old river landing stage will be reinstated to allow visitors to arrive by boat.

There are also plans to bring the old stories back to life, including eccentric Captain Evans, who had a pet baboon, and entertained crowds at the pools by diving from 100ft into the pool wearing his top hat to cushion the impact.

The Cleveland Pools Trust hopes the lido will have a grand re-opening in 2021.

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