Slough Baylis Lido nestled in parkland, and both were an oasis amongst surrounding industry.
Slough Baylis Lido had a windy day with leaden skies to greet it on the first opening. The weather didn’t deter a least a 100 children clammering at the turn stile to rush in. They were eager for their first sample of the wonderful lido. Someone however had beaten them to it. There was evidence. A suspicious shirt was found floating in the water!
Altogether 170 children crowded through the turnstiles – there were no problems except for the bedlam of noise and the handling of the money!
The Slough yelling hord came up against two strict taboos – no flippers and no jumping off the highboard.
Apart from a gentleman who jumped from the higboard three times in succession the session was taken over by children until later in the afternoon. Adults then dared to take their chances! Slough Lido saw 952 bathers by the end of the day.
The Slough Baylis Lido was opened a year later than anticipated. The pool once key shaped with pool facilities for children, had had a massive face-lift.
Now rectangular – it was heated maintaining the temperature at 70 degrees. A modern filtration plant and scum channel had been installed and the water could be changed in 3-4 hours.
Apart from sun bathing lawns, lots of paving surrounded the Lido and swimmers entered using footbaths. There were facilities for taking a hot shower before and after bathing. A major bonus was that all major swimming and diving events, and other galas could be held.
The official Opening Day Ceremony of the Slough Lido included VIPS the Lord Lieutenant of Bucks. He was accompanied by Brigadier Sir Henry Floyd who opened the Lido. They praised the Council’s Enterprise. The Mayor of Slough Alderman Andrew Brand and Councillor Arthur Simpson, Chairman of the Parks Committee were also in attendance. They all enjoyed a swimming and diving display.
The first dive was from the Olympic representative Billy Wood – pride of Slough. He was joined by Jennifer Robb, Richard Lacey, John Shilton and Kathy Rowlatt. Later Slough had learned that it had won the Brickett Trophy for the Southern Counties at its first attempt. 570 of its young swimmers had gained the Junior Swimming Awards during the year.
A International Competition for Lidos was held in Las Vagas. The Slough Lido was honoured as the third top swimming pool. It was a bronze medal surprise for Slough Council that their pool had gained international recognition. Keen competition from all over the world had been in contention. It had attracted entries from Australia, the far east and Canada. The Lido was designed by Mr John King, Borough Engineer for Slough.
The Lido was a sparkling, beautiful well kept Lido with many surrounding sun bathing lawns and flower beds. It was an oasis amongst surrounding industry and… a wonderful “day out.
OUTCOME: Despite a kiss of life in 1987 when in 1986 only 15,000 went through the turnstiles. The council spent £60,000 on Slough Baylis Lido on vital repairs. Due to heavy costs, serious leaking and more falls in attendances the Lido was doomed. Despite many more reprieves the pool finally closed in 1988. There were a lot more leisure facilities becoming available in the town. A new indoor pool was built before closure of the Lido – the Montem Sports Centre.
Now… nowhere to go on a hot day. Broken up, and uncared for.
The Slough Baylis Lido site is now a walled Parkland with Memorial Gardens.