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Saltdean Lido under construction

Saltdean Lido in construction 1937/38 - click on image to open a larger version in a new window
Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton

Most innovative design 

Saltdean Lido(Grade II*) was built in 1937-38 to designs by the architect Richard Jones, and was hailed as the most innovative design of its type in Britain. It replaced a bowling green and tennis grounds. RWH Jones also designed the 1938 Ocean Hotel at Saltdean (Grade II). With its tea terrace, sun deck, café, perched on the flat roof and distinctive curved wings at either end, it became the only lido to be featured in the DesignMuseum in London. By 1958 it was closed and derelict and a bid to buy it made by Butlins; was eventually rejected.

Fluctuating fortunes

The Lido’s fortunes have fluctuated over the years, but eventually the Save Saltdean Lido Campaign successfully lobbied Brighton and Hove City Council to stop the planned housing development, and take over the lease. The Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company, set up by the campaign group successfully did in fact secure a 60 year lease to operate the lido site.

To find out more about Saltdean Lido and the facilities offered, visit their website here.

Comments about this page

  • The Lido’s fortunes really did fluctuate. It was a beautiful, ‘modernist’ building that was renovated in the 1960s, before it fell into ruins. I can remember swimming there in about 1965-6. 

    By Philip Burnard (22/07/2018)
  • In the summer of 1957 we lived in Saltdean Drive The Lido was closed down and partly vandalised. My father was looking to buy some premises and we tried to buy The Lido which was something to do with Saltdean Estates Co. Unfortunately it seemed that no-one could do business with them so we bought a hotel in Kent instead.

    By Tim Sargeant (23/07/2018)
  • The seafront, east, from Black Rock to Saltdean and beyond, attracted a few architects and designers working in the ‘Modern/Art Dec’ style. First, Black Rock swimming pool, then the Butlin’s hotel, the Saltdean Lido and St Dunstan’s. Although there are a few buildings in this style on the main Brighton seafront – towards Hove, it is unclear why these other ones are strung out close to the cliff tops. They would have been built between the world wars and perhaps land in this area was fairly cheap. However, the buildings must have taken a lot of work and are in a particularly distinctive style. Many similar buildings have Grade II listed status I believe that this is also the case with the Butlin’s building and it is certainly true of the Saltdean Lido. Given this status and its restrictions, it would be very costly for anyone to consider rebuilding the Lido.  Does anyone know the particular history of this string of buildings?

    By Philip Burnard (23/07/2018)
  • Saltdean Lido (along with the pool at Rottingdean) attracted swimmers particularly during times when the tide was too low for easy sea-swimming from the Undercliff.  I always understood the pronunciation to be “lee-dough”, though I increasingly hear “lie-dough” !

    By Sam Flowers (24/07/2018)

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