Little ‘lost’ Lido

P1050595I want to write in support of a remarkable survivor – a Georgian gem in our midst that isn’t as obvious or impressive as a King’s Circus or Royal Crescent – but in some respects is even more important.

Tucked away behind trees on the bank of the River Avon at the bottom of Hampton Row in Bathwick – and across river from Kensington Meadows and the London Road – is the remains of an open-air bathing complex that includes the only Georgian lido still in existence.P1050603

Financed by public subscription, the original pool opened in 1815 and, until 1984, Bathonians and visitors to the city continued to enjoy swimming there.

Originally the river was diverted to flow through sluice gates into and out of the pool, and the D-shaped footprint of this first construction, which is still apparent, is echoed by the curve of a miniature Georgian crescent.

This houses changing cubicles, a cottage and the site of the former private Ladies Pool which was infilled in the 20th century.

P1050593Entirely unoccupied since 2003, this precious historic resource – an integral and fascinating part of Bath’s history and heritage – is now falling into dereliction. Despite its Grade 2* status and its national and international importance, it is registered as a Building at Risk.

Ann Dunlop heads up a small group of people who have formed the Cleveland Pools Trust to hopefully bring swimming back to the old lido.

The Trustees – with the help of a committed band of volunteers, the full backing of Bath and North East Somerset Council who are the owners of the site, and the support of English Heritage and the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, is working towards a realistic plan for the future.

Would it help, l wondered, if a rather cash-strapped B&NES just gave the pools to them?

NB. Ann mentioned Janice (Dreisbach) in her conversation with me. She is another longstanding stalwart of the campaign who has done an enormous amount of groundwork in applying for grant aid and is still a valuable team adviser. You will find her in the ‘Meet the Team’ section of the  Cleveland Pools Trust website’s Photo Gallery.

Meanwhile, the date of the  Business Launch event will be announced very soon. It’ll be happening in a couple of weeks with a celebrity guest to promote the Pools Restoration Project. A Community Launch is also planned for later in the year.

P1050573Ultimately everyone – business or private resident of this World Heritage city – will be given the opportunity to help.

Money and time are both needed. Find out more about The Cleveland Pools Trust at


  1. Hi Richard, s you say, the clips are long but so fully comprehensive and Ann gets better as they roll. I think it’s perfect, thank you so much.

    Please check with Ann when sending this VMB post whether she’d like to explain who Janice is? I would suggest an ‘NB’ below the video photo, saying: Ann mentions Janice (Dreisbach) who has been another longstanding stalwart of the campaign. You will find her in the ‘Meet the Team’ section of the website’s Photo Gallery. She is trying to retire at the moment but is still a valuable adviser to the team.

    I think it’s better coming from you – but you could say that Sally thinks you come across wonderfully natural. If you can do that without my sounding patronising(!), even better !!

    Incidentally, I didn’t know it, but Ann does mention on camera that the Architectural Heritage Trust’s grant is paying for a Project Manager. Yet another thing which has to be sorted to make everything cohesive, you’re right.

    Have a nice day out there in the sunshine. I’ll look forward to your next posts. Sally 🙂 Sally Helvey – 07836 25 25 69 …& follow the crowd to Bath’s

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