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.