Friday, 3 June 2011


It was in the 1930s, when shorter working hours and paid holidays brought an increase in leisure time, that swimming and sunbathing became popular summertime activities, so it is no coincidence that many of the country’s outdoor swimming pools, or lidos, date from that period, characterised by the simple, linear symmetry of the Art Deco style. The lido at Saltdean is a classic example of the genre, developed in the 1930s, and promoted as “The Coming Resort”. Many of the country’s lidos sadly closed down as tastes changed and attendance fell, but the lido at Saltdean is still up and running. Last year, however, the Lido’s future was threatened by a plan to fill it in and build 102 flats over it. This plan is being fought by the Save Saltdean Lido Campaign being run by the Friends of Saltdean Lido. Lets hope they succeed in their quest to preserve this Art Deco gem. For those preferring to swim in the sea, the beach at Saltdean is shingle backed by chalk cliffs, and there are rock pools at low tide.

Another Art Deco masterpiece which has been turned into flats is the former Grand Ocean Hotel, whose guests in its heyday included Bette Davis. The hotel was designed by Richard Jones, who also designed the Lido, and opened in 1938. The holiday camp entrepreneur Billy Butlin bought the site in 1953 for £250,000, and one of the redcoats working there was Jimmy Tarbuck, who was later destined to carve out a career as a well-known comedian. However, the advent of holidays to sun-soaked continental destinations brought about a decline to such places and the Grand finally closed in 2005.

Map of the area.

Saltdean Lidophoto © 2003 John Shepherd | more info (via: Wylio)

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