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Cleveland Pools: 200-year-old British lido being restored to former glory

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We’re thrilled to have completed the restoration of Britain's oldest lido
Cleveland Pools Trust

The UK’s oldest outdoor public pool in the historic spa city of Bath is being given a new lease of life following a £9m (US$10.7m, €10.1m) investment.

Thanks to local efforts, Cleveland Pools’ two outdoor pools will reopen to the public in 2023 following a lengthy 18-year campaign to save the property.

Located on Hampton Row, the site was built in 1815 and remained a popular open-air bathing spot for more than 150 years. The destination shut indefinitely in 1984 due to a competing indoor pool facility opening nearby.

The property was then used for trout farming until the local council – which owned and operated the site – put Cleveland Pools up for sale in 2003. A year later, residents Ann Dunlop, Janice Dreisbach and Roger Houghton banded together to form the Cleveland Pools Trust (CPT) to raise funds to restore and reopen the facility.

CPT went on to secure more than £9m (US$10.7m, €10.1m) in funding in the coming years to facilitate the restoration.

This was donated by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Heritage Lottery Fund, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Historic England, B&NES and Salix Finance alongside other organisations. Additional funding was awarded in 2020 to support increased costs incurred by the pandemic – alongside money to help create a water source heat pump.

The facility will relaunch with male and female changing rooms, hot showers, a children’s pool, a pontoon and a kiosk canopy.

From April to September the outdoor pools will be warmed to 28°C and partly heated by hydropower from the nearby river. Meanwhile, open-water swimmers will be able to enjoy cold water swimming for the remainder of the year.

No membership will be required and day guests will be welcomed, however, there will be an optional monthly swim pass available for regular visitors.

Sport and leisure management company Fusion Lifestyle has been appointed to operate the not-for-profit facility.

CPT told Spa Business: “We’re thrilled to have completed the restoration of Britain's oldest lido.

“It’s been a challenging but wonderful journey and we’re so grateful for the continued support of our communities. We can’t wait to welcome swimmers again soon to enjoy this historic place as it was originally intended.”

Cleveland Pools is now a member of the Historic Pools of Britain body and is a Grade II* listed building, which under English law, affords the building special protection.

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The UK’s oldest outdoor public pool in the historic spa city of Bath is being given a new lease of life following a £9m (US$10.7m, €10.1m) investment.
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