Wetsuits in Hackney’s lido: yes, it’s that cold

London Fields Lido Dalston E8 080813 © david.altheer@gmail.com

WOULD-BE swimmers were today being warned by staff at London Fields Lido that the water temperature was no more than 22C, at least 3C below the usual.

One customer went home to return with a wetsuit he uses for surfing in Northern Ireland before taking the plunge in the 50m pool which was, in Farenheit terms, 10 degrees below the temperature of the water at Hackney’s indoor pools.

The heating problem has been a long-running one. Staff said the boiler seemed to be functioning fully, but the heat distribution to the pool’s 1.5 million litres and the showers was not. The result was that wetsuits were being worn in the pool while the showers this morning 6 Feb 2014 users were liable to be scalded.

London FIelds lido 060314 © david.altheer@gmail.com

The Lido website said: “Please be advise that the Pool temperature is currrently 3 degrees lower than normal.” [The syntax, Germanic capitalisation and spelling is unaltered.]

Staff are optimistic that the problems can be solved, but swimmers say they have been hearing that for several weeks. Best to phone the pool, number below, before visiting.

London’s only heated Olympic-length open-air pool is now considered one of the best lidos in the capital, although in the 1990s it was decaying.

Haggerston Baths Mar 2013 © david.altheer@gmail.com
In choppy waters: tower of Haggerston Baths in Hackney

Vigorous opposition by residents to the pool’s closure by Hackney council in the late 1980s led eventually to its restoration, with volunteer help, and its reopening in autumn 2006.

The council devolved operation of all its remaining pools to a social enterprise, GLL, which describes itself as worker-owned.

Yet to reopen is the Grade II-listed Haggerston Baths in Whiston Road E2 8BA, closed by the council in 2000. Residents are struggling to save it.

Hamish Scott  060214 

* Lido, London Fields West Side E8 3EU (020 7254 9038). After this story was published, normal service was restored, only to lapse to pool-water temp 23C.  Temperatures since ranged between 25C and 26.2C.  The poolside showers have again been closed for repair.

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

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