Stories from Lido Fans. – Have you got one?

Stories from Lido Fans

From Toby:
Dear Anne, how are you?  Do you remember me?  I sent you an article
last year about my memories of visiting a former lido in Purley Way,
Croydon.  I do hope the site is going well.  I guess it’s at this time
of year that most of the seasonal lidos are now opening from their
winter slumber.  What prompted me to contact you is that I am
currently reading ‘The Lido’ by Libby Page.  Have you read it?  I only
recently found out about it whilst listening to a book reviews
programme on the radio.  So far I am really enjoying it.  I don’t
usually read fiction and it’s slightly a ‘chick-lit’ book, but I
have connected with the book in a way that I hadn’t expected.

I have a little anecdote about Brockwell Lido, which features in the
book.  I actually grew up in south London, where the book is set,
although I have never swum in the said lido.  My local lidos were
Purley Way and Tooting Bec.  Now that I am living in East Anglia, it
felt strange reading about familiar places.  In 1994, I was in love
and dating a gorgeous girl called xxxxxxxx.  She was at college
studying graphic design.  One day she told me that she had a
photography assignment to do and the topic was opposites.  I suggested
using lidos as the backdrop and that we could go and visit both in-use
and derelict lidos in south London.

One grey, Sunday afternoon, we drove down to Brockwell Park and parked
the car in a side road.  The lido was not in use then.  Right opposite
was a tall block of flats.  We entered the lobby and climbed right to
the top landing.  We were greeted with an amazing sight of the derelict
pool, empty except for a green pond in the deep end.  She took her
photos and we left.  What’s interesting is that in the book, one of
the main characters lives in that very block of flats.  I don’t know
whether the author knows the block herself or has just seen it whilst
swimming, as the pool is now open again.  The same character is also
very much in love and it took me back to a a happy time.  We then went
on to another derelict lido in Kennington Park.  Sadly, this is now
tennis courts.  On another day, the good people at Tooting Bec let my
girlfriend photograph lido life there for free.  That was very nice of
them, as it’s quite in demand for photographic shoots and they usually
charge.

The only downside to reading the book is that I am now craving that
feeling of cold water, underneath an open sky.  I want to wake-up, as
happens to the other main character of the book.  Sadly, lidos are
rather thin on the ground in South Suffolk.  I’m hoping to meet a rich
widow, who runs a stables and has her own outside pool.  Rather like
an episode of Lovejoy, which was filmed in my area.  Wish me luck!

It would be interesting to know if the book has increased attendance
at Brockwell Lido?

Well, I’ll sign off for now.  I hope I haven’t bored you too much.

Kind regards

Toby


 

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