A beautiful art deco pool opened in 1937 situated on the edge of the sea.
It was a vast pool, graduating from beach depth (paddling) to 15 ft under the diving stage.
Weston-Super-Mare Lido was famous for it’s diving stage. It was a main feature of the pool and very much part of the skyline. The boards were of international standard, the highest board being 10 metres high.
The aim of the Weston-Super-Mare pool was always to provide good, clean healthy fun in the masses.
The pool boasted the finest changing rooms and restaurant/cafe facilities.
Every afternoon throughout the summer, a team of five professional divers including one woman performed acrobatic feats “just for the kicks and the thrills.”
Dick Arnold on behalf of his team said. “Mind you, sometimes when I’m up on the top board I feel a little uncomfortable, especially where a gust of wind can make it dangerous.” Several comedy turns intermixed with the serious side of diving. The Lido enjoyed record breaking summers and often broke records.
The art deco Grade II listed diving stage was the back drop of Modern Venus Competitions. These attracted scores of pretty girls, including Diana Dors (Fluck) who won 3rd prize in 1947.
The judges that were listed over the years comprised celebrity stars. Chico Marx; Billy Cotton; Henry Hall; Richard Murdoch; Jack Hulbert; Tommy Cooper; Michael Aspel; Terry Scott and Hugh Lloyd.
They were no strangers to the Weston-Super-Mare Pool. When Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy arrived in 1947 there was pretty much a riot!
The Lido was at its height in the fifties and sixties and hundreds of thousands flocked to the pool and hosted International Swimming and Water Polo.
The diving stage, apart from spectacular shows, sadly were not used to their fullest potential for National Diving Training.
Since 1963 the interest in diving waned and was difficult to find a “resident” diving coach to form a club in Weston-Super-Mare. The facilities were not used to their full potential to bring on and coach future diving champions.
Holidaymakers started to demand something more sophisticated than a dip in an unheated pool, and with little shelter, patrons began to dwindle.
It was thought that only hot water could save the pool, but it was far too big to be warmed up. Planning and expense had been discussed extensively eventually reaching the conclusion that people visited to sunbathe only. They probably wouldn’t even bathe if the water was warmed up. Other possibilities were discussed.
OUTCOME: It was decided that the whole area should be redeveloped into a more suitable bathing/recreation area.
In 1981 demolition began, and with very much regret it included the famous art deco diving stage – there had been petitions to save this listed structure to no avail. The site was developed into “The Tropicana Pool” which closed in 2000.
Many wondrous plans have emerged to develop the ongoing derelict site, but up to the present day 2012 there has been no progress.
At least the original beautiful lido wasn’t allowed a murky end – once closed – within reason it came down and turned into something else – a murky site. Hard to believe the glamour that was once here.
My Writing gleaned from:
Evening Post 1937; 59; 60; 64; 65
Weston Mercury 1978; 81; 82.
Weston Central Library, Weston-Super-Mare 1994. With thanks.
And now…for 5 weeks only from August 2015 – a new lease of life
DISMALAND! and BIZARRE on the site of the Mainly for the sport of diving competitively, and years of coaching through to International and getting it all going in Reading; plus writing on “Lost Lidos” and…campaigning for The Kings Meadow Baths, now Thames Lido. derelict Tropicana which was built on the site of the famous original beautiful outdoor Lido above.
Status at January 2016
8 mins Video by Jan.
“After Tropicana and Banksey.”