London Fields Lido to close as Hackney council searches for solution to its off-the-wall horror

lidoQ: LondonFieldLido Hackney E8 queue3006715 ©
Summertime queues prompted Hackney council to extend London Fields Lido opening hours


* Update, Friday 141016: Hackney council late yesterday announced the closing period, the end of November 2016 until spring 2017,  for  repairs to London Fields Lido, as exclusively reported here months ago.

The council said in a statement that:

* Pre-paid members will be able to continue swimming, at no extra cost, at Britannia, Clissold and Kings Hall leisure centres. Members will also be able to swim at the London Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park, Charlton Lido and any other swimming pool managed by Better, aka Greenwich Leisure Ltd.

* Members will also be able to use the new health and fitness facilities at Queensbridge sports-community Centre throughout the closure.

* Memberships can also be frozen or suspended during the closure of the Lido.


LONDON FIELDS LIDO is to close for several months. The news is being kept from swimmers but rumours have been swishing about for the last week and now, thanks to well-placed sources, Loving Dalston can outline what is likely to happen.

The Olympic-length heated pool at London Fields West Side E8 3EU will close for maintenance this autumn, probably in October, and possibly for three months.

Neither Hackney council, which owns the heated pool, nor Better, also known as GLL/Greenwich Leisure Limited, the social enterprise that runs public baths and fitness centres for Hackney and other councils, will say what arrangements or compensation will be provided for regular users, even those with long-term passes.

Mike Martin, London Fields User Group chairman, did not know of the impending closure.

However, Hackney council’s Kim Wright told Loving Dalston that some pool tiles had cracked and were coming away from the wall.

Temporary supports to stabilise it were installed in June so the lido could stay open “while we investigate the cause of the problem”.

LidoLate14: Lon Fields Lido Hackney late opening June 2014 © david.altheer[ at ]
Olympic length is better: good swimmers can train in the lido’s 50m lanes

 The £166,000-a-year neighbourhoods director continued: “We put signs up in reception (pictured below) to inform customers of the work. Tests carried out by industry specialists have shown that there is a problem with the screed layer between the pool tank and the render which holds the tiles.”

Solving the problem will be “a major piece of work” that would require the pool to be closed “for a period of time…

“At this stage we do not know exactly how long the works will take or when they will start.”

Worryingly, she added that the pool would stay open while “we procure a contractor” to carry out the work. Worrying that, months since the problem emerged, a contractor has not been found.

The tile trouble comes as a shock after the optimism of the night in 2014 the council launched late openings, although it is only 10 years since the 50-metre pool was reopened.

More than £2 million was spent on its refurbishment in response to 18 years of campaigning by local residents dismayed by Hackney’s mothballing the art deco treasure. One can envisage the lawyers estimating their fees for the inevitable law suits around the tile problem.

lido13: London Fields Lido Apr 2013 © David Altheer
The art deco style may not be instantly apparent but inside the complex it is

Facilities at the lido include a café, run by the small Hoxton Beach chain, clothes and hair driers, a sunbathing area and the popular communal showers. Individual showers are also available.

* Some options for soon-to-be exiled Lidoistas: Britannia Leisure Centre in Shoreditch); Clissold Leisure Centre (Stoke Newington) and Kings Hall Leisure Centre (Clapton).

The best of these is the fully enclosed Stokey pool. Austere and less well designed than the lido, it is 2m deep for all of its 25m, which makes it of little use to would-be competitive swimmers. And to combat, ahem, swimmer-deposited fluids, it uses a different system from that at the lido: swimmers’ eyes often sting. It also has little effect on countering the strong perfumes some male swimmers fail to wash off before they enter the water. Other pools: press here.

This blandly entitled notice was posted on a pool noticeboard

Hamish Scott 170816

* Backstory: Happy, smiling high-paid elite of Hackney Town HallLet us spray, says Hackney; Hackney pulls plug on Haggy Baths hopes; Hackney chronicler wades in to save baths; Investors flood in for pool; Hackney washes its hands of heritage siteLondon Fields Lido lights upWetsuits in Hackney lido; Swimming may return to the Haggy; London Fields hipster heaven costs council £140,000;  

* London Fields Lido is at the northwest end of London Fields E8 3EU (020 7254 9038)

London Fields Lido Hackney E8 queue3006715 ©
Late session: children enjoy a night out at London Fields Lido in Hackney

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One thought on “London Fields Lido to close as Hackney council searches for solution to its off-the-wall horror

  1. Not knowing the full details of the problem and, assuming that Hackney council has all the correct warranties in place, I think that if the issue is a latent defect from any of the contractors who carried out the work in the first place, then they should foot the bill for the corrective action and any other associated costs.

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