Malvern Park Lido above – A glimpse of days gone by. The brightly coloured welcoming cubicles now gone. Thank you Darren Webb and Solihull Library
Malvern Park Lido started its days as nothing more than a pond.
It lay in the midst of the Malvern Hall Estate.
The estate changed hands many times since 1660 up until 1931 when it came into posession of Solihull’s Rural District Council. It became Solihull High School for Girls, until the 1970s when it became co-educational and named Malvern Hall once again.
A wooded area surrounded the pool but the trees were felled to make way for Park Avenue and Brueton Avenue to be built.
The Lido was privately owned until the Council purchased it in 1954. In early life it was very primitive says Mrs Hatfield – “it had washed shale on the bottom, but each year something was added. e.g. one end of the pool was concreted, followed by the other end the next year. The next year showers may be fitted , then steps and then a slide.”
The water was changed 4 hourly, but the temperature of the water depended upon how much sun the pool caught during the day. At the time it was not permitted to have fuel for heating up the water.
This was all well and good before the patrons were used to central heating and the cheap package holidays abroad where the sun was guaranteed.
Many families used the lido not just for swimming in any case. It was an idyllic spot with lovely surroundings to take picnics, make new friends and for families to congregate together with their children to play and splash about happily.
The hardy bathers entered the water, however the temperature of the water hovered around 66 – 72 degrees at its height.
Very soon an indoor pool at Tudor Grange became competition.
Although thousands fed through the turnstiles during sizzling summers, even forming long queues, in between times the patrons slowly dwindled. The pool very much relied on the high temperatures of summer which was not consistent and frequently with accompanying chilly winds.
From about the late 1970s, the pool seemed to be on borrowed time, especially one very hot summer the ticket holders were down on prior attendances.
Extra activities took place such as scuba diving and canoe lessons and even Wellington the Snake was a much honoured guest. The local supporters of the pool campaigned hard to keep it open during the 70s and early 80s
There was no doubt that when the temperatures soared the bathers were there , but this didn’t make up the loss of £7000 a year, but after heavy campaigning the Council gave it another chance.
There were multiple reprieves to keep the pool open season after season. Indeed the Council gave it a face-lift spending £7000 hoping for a good hot season.
The Lido opened every day between 10a.m and 1.45pm and 2.30pm to 18.30 pm from May until September the 5th and on hot days there were long queues to get in. Many workers couldn’t be bothered to go home for lunch – instead the lido was the place to be.
Despite being a wonderful place the lido entered trial periods to see if it was worth keeping open – it’s sister lido the Greswolde in Knowle had already closed down
As the result of financial loss and then unfortunately, continuing with high expense for maintenance and structural repairs, the Lido sadly closed in 1982. The pool was left to decay for more than a decade. There were plans to turn it into an indoor pool, there were even plans to reopen it as a Lido.
Decisions were not to be finalised and meanwhile the pool was just left totally neglected.
The Lido is still there, hidden by woodland, situated behind and to the right of St Martins Sixth Form College.
Nothing has been done but there are still the lingering memories and hot sizzling days of its time.
Contribution received from Steve Beauchampe 28/07/16
Malvern Park Lido
“Adults pool, children’s pool, kiosk. Aereator (?), diving stage, deckchairs also available. Water changed completely every four hours but in post war period (up to c1951) water temperature depended on amount of sunshine as pool owners not permitted fuel to heat them. Purchased by Solihull Council in early 1954 for £12,000. Pool closed in 1982 as a result of increasing losses and structural problems. Initially considered for residential development, site was sold to St. Martin’s School in 1988, who originally planned to construct an indoor pool and drama studio that never came to fruition. Unsuccessful application for lottery funding to re-open lido in 1988.”
I had a wander around but the lido was difficult to locate midst the woodland. Does anyone remember this Lido. Can you add what it was like to swim here?