England is a nation of swimmers: we make around 80 million visits to swimming pools every year.
Liverpool was home to the first municipal baths, opening in 1829. Seventeen years later in 1846, the Baths and Washhouses Act granted local authorities the power to establish these facilities, and offered them the loans to do so. From 1880-1914, over 600 new baths were established – often rich in detail and innovation, with abundantly opulent interiors. A mixture of civic pride combined with a greater understanding of hygiene led to this boom in new pools.
The 1930s were the ‘Golden Age’ of lidos, with over 150 built, and another flurry of pool construction came in the aftermath of the Second World War.
Here are six of England’s best pools.
1. Health Hydro, Swindon. Grade II listed
Health Hydro © Historic England Archive AA98/10418
Completed in 1891 for the Great Western Railway Medical…
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