Pools winner

What a day for all those who have been involved in helping to restore the city’s Grade 11 star-listed open air Georgian lido.

The ambitious revival of Bath’s 200-year-old Cleveland Pools has been recognised as an ‘example of rescuing open-air pools’ for northern Europe, as it was today announced as a winner of the
prestigious Europa Nostra Awards 2023.

Credit: Anthony Brown

The regeneration of Cleveland Pools is one of just 30 projects to be honoured as an ‘outstanding heritage achievement’, from a wide-ranging field of applications from 21 countries across the
European area.

Europa Nostra Awards judges highlighted that the restoration of the 19th-century open-air Pools had been ‘driven by the local community’. They praised the use of ‘green energy and a holistic approach to reinstate the site’s original function while adapting it to 21st-century standards. The restoration of the Cleveland Pools in Bath is a good example of rescuing open-air pools for northern Europe and is a great example for other similar sites across the continent.’

Responding to the award, Paul Simons, Chair of Cleveland Pools Trust said:

‘After three national awards, the Cleveland Pools Trust is delighted with this European Heritage Award from Europa Nostra. It is further evidence of the appreciation of the amazing achievement of all involved. With the construction of the pontoon to provide a riverboat bus stop now underway, the project is in its final stage, and we look forward to opening the Pools for swimming in the coming months.’

Cleveland Pools in Bath first opened to the public in 1817. It held a significant place in the hearts of the people of Bath and the surrounding region for almost two centuries, until it closed to the public in the 1980s. This unique historic site with a rich cultural heritage has now undergone a comprehensive restoration thanks to a community-based, volunteer-driven campaign.

The project to restore and reopen Cleveland Pools began in 2004, when a campaign to oppose the sale of the site for commercial development gained significant support from heritage organisations in the city of Bath and at national level.

The regeneration project is focused on restoration, conservation and environmental sustainability, prioritising accessibility for the whole of the local community in and around Bath.

The Cleveland Pools Trust is an independent registered charity and company. It has played a crucial role in the project by prioritising community engagement and involving large numbers of volunteers with a diverse range of backgrounds, skills and knowledge. The project has received financial support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, Bath and North East Somerset Council, and the Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund, as well as from individual donors, charitable trusts and foundations, and crowdfunding.

The European Heritage Awards/Europa Nostra Awards were launched by the European Commission in 2002 and are run by Europa Nostra, the ‘leading citizens’ movement to protect and celebrate Europe’s cultural and natural heritage’.

For 21 years, the Awards have recognised and promoted the value of cultural and natural heritage for European society, economy and environment. The Awards have served to highlight and share heritage excellence and best practices in Europe, encouraging cross-border exchange of knowledge and connecting heritage stakeholders in wider networks.

Cleveland Pools is recognised in the category of ‘Remarkable heritage projects from a European country not taking part in the EU Creative Europe programme’.

Cleveland Pools is now in the final stages of the restoration and aims to open to the public in the coming months.