on 15 May 2007
For those of a certain age who remember visiting these giant hard landscaped Lidos from their childhood this book is full of history and nostalgia. Most of these outdoor pools were constructed during the 1930's and had all but disappeared by the 1990's; only a few remain today some of which are now (thankfully) listed buildings. The case reviews take a more in-depth look into individual Lidos including tidal pools such as Penzance, all have a construction date and if applicable a closure and sadly a demolision date. Backed up with some fantastic photographs and diagrams, one photograph shows a diver taking off one of the Lido high boards looking as if he is flying over the pool and another shows demolition men taking sledge hammers to diving boards at a redundant Lido.
The Author obviously has a genuine love for these Lidos the book will make you both happy with the memories and sad that most Lidos have been demolished. For me it bought back some great memories of day trips to Victoria Park, London Fields (now reopened), Whipps Cross, Larkswood and more recently Tooting Bec.
Oh, and if you ever wondered what those gushing fountains were there for it's all in this book!
on 7 April 2010
I noticed this book on Amazon and bought it on impulse, and I have to say this is one of the best books I have ever bought! You can just pick it up and read a bit and then come back later and read a bit more. It is as easy a read as that, plain clear narrative and fantastic pictures.
I love swimming and I love swimming in open air pools. I was born and lived my childhood in Hastings East Sussex where we had the St Leonards bathing pool. This was a huge pool with a 10 metre high board and because of the case study in this book I can finally show my children the pool I used to swim in as a child. It was bulldozed a good few years ago but the replacement marina never materialised. Nothing has happened.
The history of lidos is so interesting. They were the grand dames of swimming for so long, so glamourous and enormous in size. I constantly marvel at the measurements in an age where an olympic 50 metre 10 lane pool is a rarity. It is so sad to see so many of these pools have fallen into disrepair and in many cases pulled down completely. Yet equally inspiring are the pictures of the lidos still used today and making their way successfully in a very different era. Ms Smith has created a completely addictive and accessible account of a part of our swimming history and I can not recommend it enough to swimmers and non swimmers alike.
I am almost tempted to swim my way around the remaining pools....
on 12 April 2006
Janet Smith's book, Liquid Assets, is a great insight into the bathing habbits of the population. Giving informaiton and beautiful photographs of many of the lido sites in the UK, including several you may not ever have been aware of.
Required reading for those involved in Lido's and outdoor swimming, but also exceptionally interesting, for the general reader also!