The Cleveland Pools Trust has welcomed news that it has secured a substantial National Lottery grant, which will enable the historic lido to reopen to the public for the first time in over 30 years.
The Cleveland Pools, the oldest surviving open-air swimming baths in the UK, are set to be fully restored and reopened to the public, thanks to a grant from the National Lottery.
The Grade II* listed Cleveland Pools, a 200-year-old Georgian lido, has secured funding of £4.7 million to enable restoration to begin.
In the shape of a miniature crescent, referencing Bath’s renowned architecture, the site includes two bathing pools, the original changing rooms and a private ladies pool.
First opened in 1815 following the Bathwick Water Act which prohibited nude bathing in the river, the site has been closed since 1984.
It has since deteriorated and was placed on English Heritage’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.
The project will conserve the Georgian features and upgrade the facilities to allow for year-round swimming and other activities.
The pools will be naturally treated and heated using the latest technology, and when complete, there will be a 25-metre swimming pool, children’s splash area, pavilion and café for the public to enjoy.
Chair of the Cleveland Pools trustees, Paul Simons, said: “After 14 years’ hard work the Trust’s efforts have finally succeeded in guaranteeing the future of this unique place and community asset.
“The Trust is most grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for its support and belief in the scheme. Our thanks also go to the many hundreds of volunteers who have worked tirelessly to get us to this point, and the thousands of others who have expressed their support for the scheme over the years.
“The Trust is delighted to be able to continue to work with residents, who will see the benefit of this facility within their own community.”
Thanks to National Lottery players and supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the £4.7 million grant will enable the restoration of Cleveland Pools to begin.
The scheme will cost £5.7 million and the Trust, having already raised £800k, will now secure the remaining funds, creating the UK’s first naturally-treated, with no chemicals, open air public swimming pool with 30% of the energy for heating the water coming from heat pumps in the adjacent river.
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of HLF said “We are delighted that the National Lottery are able to support this outstanding project which will see this unique Grade II* Lido restored and re-opened so that the community can enjoy access to its open air pools in a spectacular heritage setting.
“It seems particularly appropriate as the pool was originally funded in Georgian times by public subscription”
As landowner, Bath & North East Somerset Council has worked closely with the Trust, supporting it with a limited amount of grant funding and backing the Trust’s restoration scheme and bid for the Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
Councillor Paul Myers, cabinet member for Economic and Community Regeneration said: “This is excellent news from the Heritage Lottery Fund and it means the Trust can now start work to bring the site back into use.
“As a council we have worked with the Trust and have supported the commitment of local people who have secured the future of a valuable city asset.”
The pools, on the banks of the River Avon in Bath, were built for swimming and recreation between 1815 and 1817 but were closed in 1984 and converted to a trout farm and private residence.
The Cleveland Pools Trust has been working since 2004 to restore the Georgian lido and bring it back into use.