Bloemfontein Lido – “The Pride of Hammersmith”
Adjacent to Wormholt Park the sleepy leafy Bloemfontein Road saw the opening of the Open-Air Baths by His Worship the Mayor of Hammersmith – Alderman Marshall Hays JP. 1923
The main entrance was centrally placed with dressing boxes placed to either side – females to the left and males to the right.
Amidst refreshment areas, including tea lawns, there were store rooms for Clubs, and a cycle park. The lovely pool had its deep end in the centre – all of 7 feet 3 inches. It was 150 feet long and 75 feet wide. The floor of the pool was granolithic paving and all footways were paved in artificial stone. This wonderful lido accommodated water polo matches, International swimming events, plus diving exhibitions from the 13 foot high staging.
The Pool was open to males only Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday am, Thursday, Friday am. Females were allowed Wednesday pm, Friday pm and Sunday for 3 hours am… MIXED! Depending hiring requirements cost was 3d and 6d.
The pool hosted swimming and diving championships and an International Water Polo Match one notably being the Penguin Water Polo Players (based at Lime Grove Baths) v. the USA water Polo Team.
There were lovely leisurely dips between all the serious work, and wonderful for a family day out.
56 years later in 1979 the well loved and “up to date” swimming paradise was changed to an indoor “Tropical Lagoon” under White City Pools. The name changed after 11 years to the Janet Adegoke Leisure Centre, after the first black Mayor of London Hammersmith. She sadly died at the young age of 47 years.
OUTCOME: The Centre was knocked down in 2003. Wormholt Park saw an empty space, with the area boarded along Bloemfontein Road for many years. Once one of the most up to date facilities in the country. Let’s hope this site will be reborn to serve the community. Picture taken 2004. (See below and further outcome)
Janet’s name lives on. A swimming pool is honoured with the name of Janet Adegoke built within the Phoenix Leisure Complex. This is a little higher up Bloemfontein Road.