Unused since its closure in 1974, the pool has been restored and refurbished to a quirky and glamorous degree
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, swimming was a spectator sport. Onlookers lined the edges of municipal swimming baths to watch feats of endurance swimming, “underwater ballets”, and to marvel at high dives. Celebrities such as Captain Matthew Webb, fresh from conquering the English Channel, and Annette Kellermann, later dubbed the Million Dollar Mermaid, thrilled the crowds.
Step forward in time to 2017 and my visit to Thames Lido. I am here in a beautifully refurbished Edwardian swimming pool, swimming up and down what is effectively a glass box, as people sit eating their breakfast behind a vast glass wall. I splash around in front of them feeling like I’m back in a different time. Every now and again diners look up from their cappuccinos and lazily cast their eyes towards the water – and me.