Tooting Bec Lido

Nuggets – bite size chunks of London

Tooting Bec Lido

Tooting Bec LidoTooting Bec lido is an impressive open-air swimming pool that opened on Tooting Bec Road in July 1906, originally as Tooting bathing lake. It gained its present name in the 1930s.

Soil was excavated during the pool’s construction – mostly by labourers provided by the Central (Unemployed) Body for London – was formed into an embankment and planted with trees to shield the bathers from the common.

Measuring 100 x 33 yards, the lido is said to be the largest fresh­water pool in England and the widest in Europe. The pool is unheated and is open to the public from mid-May to the end of September each year. The photo on the right was taken in mid-September.

The South London swimming club was formed here a few weeks after the pool opened. The club organises various activ­ities and special events at the lido, including during the winter months, though the council subcon­tracts the facility’s day-to-day management to a commercial operation.

New cubicles and showers replaced the old dressing sheds in 1936, a café was built, and the lavat­ories were remod­elled.

In 2001–2 a new shallow end entrance was built in art deco style. The deep end area was refur­bished in 2016 with a new pavilion and sunbathing area. As well as being a venue for fitness and sports classes, the pavilion is also intended to serve as a headquarters for events such as aquathlons, triathlons and galas.