Above Greswolde Lido. Doris Molesworth – Olympic Games Swimmer performed in the Opening of the Greswolde Lido 1936. Thank you Janet Erzen Solihull Library and Diana Harris 2012 who researched on my behalf.
Greswolde Lido Knowle …A Super Job” said film Star – Jean Gillie who opened the pool.
There was a gathering of many public figures and representatives.
It was a dull day weatherwise on the opening day in June 1936, but the beauty of the decorations, grassy banks, upper and lower terraces with masses of flowers, filled the day with joy.
People were bowled over by the lidos appearance and the enjoyment of the well programmed day.
Greswolde Lido was a lovely site it was. The rural locality of the site had been scrupulously retained, and the lovely Venetian style Cafe was well patronised – capable of holding 200 persons. There was even a hairdressing kiosk on site, with soft drink parlours. The adjacent Greswolde Hotel offered a ballroom, Tudor dining room, modern lounges and cocktail bar.
The pool was equipped with a five stage diving board, spring boards, and water chute etc, and provided changing facilities for 1000 bathers, with free car park.
The pool itself was 135 ft long by 40 ft wide and was at the time the largest within a 15 mile radius of Birmingham. It incorporated a separate swimming pool for children, and were the only pools in the Midlands where chlorine was not used for purification purposes.
The whole of the contents of the pool passed through a filtration system every six hours, and oxygen was infused through scores of little jets from the floor of the pool. The oxygenated pool had an exhilierating effect. It was kept at a constant 70 deg. F.
The opening of this lovely lido was indeed a celebratory day. Performers included the Claudettes, Three Water Nymphs, an excellent swimming exhibition by Doris Molesworth the Olympic Games swimmer with various diving fetes, acrobatics, aerobatics and PT!
Rackhams of Birmingham displayed the latest in beautiful holiday wear and there was a celebration cabaret dance in the evening.
No expense had been spared on the pool. Mr F.A. Bendall MD proposed a toast on behalf of the other Directors praising the work which had been accomplished by the Architect Mr Ernest S. Roberts.
It was a “Super Job” and there had been efforts to attract the correct future clientel both to the Hotel and the Pool. A luncheon had been served at the Greswolde Hotel for all local dignatories and magistrates that were present at the opening ceremony.
OUTCOME: The pool lived on for 30 years providing a happy family paradise until the 60s. Then, as with most open air lidos of this decade, bathers dwindled due to the change of holiday habits and the cheap hot sun holidays abroad. Britain was suffering inclement weather and the pool closed in 1966.
Today the lucrative buying up of the land is now covered with a housing estate.
The Greswolde Hotel remains part of Knowle High Street and with great pride is a Brewer Chef Restaurant.
The Lido was built behind in the grounds
Contribution received from Steve Beauchampe 28/07/16
Greswolde Lido, Knowle
“Opened on Saturday 6th June 1936. Around 100 prominent people attended the opening, which included a lunch at the Greswolde Arms Hotel. Architect: Ernest S. Roberts; Builder: J. Parsons, both of King’s Heath. Complex built in just ten weeks, Pool was opened by Miss Jean Gille, British Lions film star, followed by an exhibition of swimming by Miss Doris Molesworth, Olympic Swimmer and Midland Champion and Jim Hiphersa (?), British Ju-jitsu Champion, who is conducting physical culture classes daily at the lido. Also Christopher and Columbus, a comedy acrobatic team; Peggy and Gwen, acrobatic dancers, the Six Claudettes and the Three Water Nymphs, plus a mannequin parade by Rackhams of Birmingham in which the latest bathing and summer holiday wear was displayed. Finally, a celebration cabaret dance in the evening.
Pool is 135ft x 40ft, floodlit, the largest within a fifteen mile radius of Birmingham. Incorporates a separate swimming pool (not paddling pool) for children. Purification and filtration of the water is via a new and germ-proof system involving the infusion of oxygen. The entire contents of the pool pass through the filtration plant every six hours, and oxygen is infused into the water through scores of little jets in the floor of the pool. The Greswolde Pool is the only in the midlands where chlorine is not used for purification purposes. Water temperature maintained at 70F. There is a five-stage diving board, spring boards and water chute. Two spacious terraces, divided by a grass banking, surrounds the pool. The upper terrace is banked with flowers. A Venetian café accommodating 200, a hairdressing kiosk and soft drink parlours. Changing facilities for 1,000 bathers per hour and free parking for up to 1,000 cars. Manager Mr. F.A. Bendall also opened the lido at The Dog in Harvington, nr. Evesham. Advertisement described it as ‘the most thrilling experience in bathing’.
Open 8am-11pm. Bathers: Mon-Fri 1s (am); 1s 6d (pm)
Sat-Sun 2s all day
Non-Bathers: Mon-Fri 1s all day
Sat-Sun 1s 6d all day
Re-opened on Saturday May 4th 1945 after WWII, referred to in advert as Greswolde Swimming Pool. Offered to Birmingham City Council either for purchase or lease by Greswolde Hotels Ltd on August 28th 1952.”
I wonder how many Patrons of the Greswolde Hotel today are aware of this once popular Lido? Any other pointers?