Broomhill Swimming Pool, Sherrington Road IP1 4HT
One of Britain's finest lidos, Broomhill Open Air Swimming Pool was designed by County-Borough of Ipswich engineer E. McLauchlan. Built at a cost of £17,000, it was opened by Ipswich Mayor George Underwood on Saturday 30 April 1938. Now one of 17 listed lidos in Britain, the Modern style pool building is one of the most attractive open-air pools in the country and has an unrivalled position on the edge of Broomhill Park.
Measuring 55 yards x 20 yards and 8 lanes wide, the competition pool is the joint deepest outdoor public pool in Britain alongside Hilsea Lido in Portsmouth.
Broomhill has the world's last surviving Wicksteed diving stage with 1,2,3,4 & 5m boards and had flood lighting over the pool and underwater. The water was heated to 70f/21c and filtered. The three-hour filtration rate for 2,500,000 litres of water was one of the fastest in the country. However, during the war the heating system was removed from the pool.
Janet Smith wrote, in her definitive book Liquid Assets 'Broomhill may lack the national profile accorded to Saltdean, Tinside or Penzance, but it is arguably their equal in architectural significance".
In December 2018 the stage 2 Heritage Lottery Fund bid for £3.4m was approved and in 2019 a total £7m of funding was guaranteed (Ipswich Borough £1.5m, HLF £3.4m, Fusion Lifestyle £2.1m).
Pre-qualification and the selection of a contractor was set for early 2020. The pool was set to be restored in 2020 and reopened in 2021.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the leisure sector and Fusion Lifestyle was forced to close all of its 200+ nationwide pools, gyms and sport centres, also to furlough some 3,000 staff. Its capital plans are presently on hold and it is having to restructure all its operations. Restoration and re-opening of Broomhill Pool is set to be delayed. There are major challenges ahead but the case for Broomhill remains as strong as ever.
With funding agreed and the lease signed, Fusion Lifestyle has not thrown in the towel and is committed to the project. A further delay does not faze us. We will be positively lobbying and working with all stakeholders to complete the task and bring this historic lido back to life for Ipswich.
The Broomhill Pool Trust is pleased to share with you a photographic history of Broomhill Pool from its opening in the 1930s through to the present day 2020s [link below].
[Source: Broomhill Pool Trust]