Saltdean Lido

Photo:Saltdean Lido

Saltdean Lido

From the private collection of Trevor Chepstow

Photo:Saltdean Lido

Saltdean Lido

From the private collection of Trevor Chepstow

Photo:Saltdean Lido

Saltdean Lido

From the private collection of Trevor Chepstow

Grade II listed: built in 1935

By Trevor Chepstow

With the expansion of Brighton in the 1930's and the need to create new housing with a seaside feel Saltdean was the obvious choice.  Along with new housing people wanted better leisure facilities and the Saltdean Lido was born. Built in 1935 the Lido was the height of fashion with its flamboyant style reminiscent of the "Art Deco" period, although often referred to as the "Modern Style".  Of all the Lidos built in the thirties Saltdean Lido stands as "Jewel in the Crown" to style and longevity and is as popular today as it was seventy odd years ago!

Unique qualities
To look full on at the two storey building is the best way to appreciate its unique qualities. The wonderful sweeping terraces forming curved wings on either side of the central building that houses the café.  The clever use of steel, glass and the curved width all help to crate the feeling of space and enhance the dynamic visual effect of the building.  As in most thirties lido designs the buildings tend to resemble the stylish lines of an transatlantic ocean liners, a design that was very similar to the interior of the Swimming Stadium in Brighton opened in 1934.

General interest in fitness
As lidos became more popular in Britain in the 30's with the promotion of improving health and general fitness, swimming and the outdoor life were the new buzz words.  With people becoming more conscious about their figures the lidos became the ideal venue to show them off.  An added bonus (to the boys anyway) was the fact that now young ladies could model the latest bathing designs and also acquire a suitable tan at the same time.

Accommodates 500 bathers
Normally situated not far from the sea, the lido was the perfect place to swim and socialise, a safe haven for families with children if the sea was rough and bathing forbidden.  The pool itself is quite large measuring 140ft by 66ft and can accommodate 500 bathers.  Even after sixty years odd an afternoon sipping tea in the café, lounging on the sundeck or even relaxing on the grass areas on a sunny day seem hard to beat.

One of the best Lidos in the UK
The fashion of Lidos may come and go but Saltdean can be rest assured it has one of the best Grade 2 Listed Lidos in the country, one that will be hopefully be appreciated by many future generations to come.  With the recent £2 Million renovation of Saltdean Lido in 1998 and the refurbishment of the nearby Ocean Hotel, Saltdean has regained its rightful status as one of the best Lido resorts in Britain.

This page was added on 29/04/2007.
Comments about this page

The front elevation of Saltdean Lido is based on the design of the front of the Queen Elizabath I, both built in the same year. During the war the Lido was used by the NFS (National Fire Service) for firefighting training. Pumping water from the pool and replacing it back meant the powerful hoses blew the original tiles from the pool wall. The firemen were housed at the nearby Butlin's Ocean Hotel. If you look on top of the Lido roof you will see two little offices which were the intended ticket offices for a planned chair lift to take people from the Lido across the Downs to the Ocean Hotel which was never completed due to the war. There is also a tunnel which leads from the Lido under the main road which comes out at the bottom of the cliffs by the beach. This is now sealed up.

By David Maynard (29/04/2007)

There is still an underpass from in front of the Lido to the beach. The beach end has a very Thirties 'feel' with its brickwork and angular lines, it opened in 1934 (I saw it recently in an old B and H Herald). I seem to have seen somewhere that it opened in 1938 (Pevsners 'Sussex'?) but I may be suffereing a Senior moment!

By Geoffrey Mead (09/05/2007)

I can remember Saltdean Lido in the post-war years when it was commonly known as the Rot Swimming Pool Saltdean.  I went exploring with a couple of friends just to see what it looked like inside and, even at the age of twelve, I couldn't fail to be impressed even though the building and pool was derelict.  Being a Brighton exile, I read the article on the Lido with some interest and I was glad to see that it has been restored to its former glory.

By John Wignall (08/08/2007)

I would be interested to know when exactly the Lido opened. My mother worked there as a waitress in the cafe at that time and I would like to be able to pinpoint the exact date. I have discovered some old photographs of her at the lido at that time. Thank you.

By Allan Jamieson (12/11/2009)

Last week Saltdean residents were informed at an Exhibition, that the listed part of the Lido should undergo a £12million refurbishment including buidling flats and filling in the pool. The whole place needs doing up not taking bits apart. A 'Save Saltdean Lido' group is on Facebook. Please tell everyone what is happening.

By Emma Jefferies (15/03/2010)

Does anyone out there know if the Lido had the been awarded a National Lottery grant? If not, why not?

By Alan Payne (21/03/2010)

I found the article about Saltdean Lido while Googleing lidos across the U.K and was horrified to find out that some greedy developers want to get rid of another part of Brighton like they have done with so many other parts. I am a Brightonian who now lives in the Midlands so I can't give as much support to this as I would like to so now I am saying come on Brighton wake up and give these morons a kick in the pants by giving all the support you can to the Save Saltdean Lido Group, and remember this is the last open air lido in Brighton, let it go and we will have another fiasco like Black Rock and Rottingdean pools. It cost Brighton Council a considerable amountof  money to reopen this lido so don't let it go to waste.

By John Wignall (25/04/2011)

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