Margate Lido

One of England's first commercial bathing resorts.

In its heyday, Margate was the premier choice for sea bathing. Between 1824 and 1828 John Boys built the ‘Clifton Baths’ here.

Bathing machines

Huge amounts of chalk were excavated from the cliff to create a large dome providing storage for 20-30 horse-drawn (modesty protecting) bathing machines. They were brought down a curving tunnel to the sea. A horse pump forced sea water to an Upper Reservoir where it supplied water for hot baths. The most striking thing is the underground bathing lake – allegedly designed so that women could bathe in the nude unobserved!

 

Trivia Question

Where does the word ‘Lido’ come from? (Scroll down to reveal the answer)

From 1926 the baths were remodelled into a large modern seaside complex by John Henry Iles (who also owned Dreamland). A new large open air swimming pool projecting into the sea was accompanied by themed bars, cafes and restaurants. Older residents can recall the French styled Café Normandie, a pirate themed bar named Café Basque and The Jolly Tar, complete with lobster pot lampshades! From 1938 the venue became known as the Cliftonville Lido.

Why not toddle over to British Pathé News to view some jolly fine film footage of the lido from the last century

Decline

By the 1950s the luxury hairdressing salons with 50 private bathrooms made of marble had been replaced by a zoo and aquarium. Two decades later the pool was closed and filled in, like so many others.

A Marine Protected Area

This stretch of coastline is popular with seaweed foragers including local natural beauty/health company Haeckels in Cliftonville. The Walpole Tidal Pool along from here is home to many sea species such as wireweed, (a form of seaweed) pacific oysters, slipper limpet and barnacle to name just a few. The Tidal Pool is popular with outdoor swimmers and celebrated its 80th birthday in 2017!

Interactive Map

Below is an interactive map of Discovery Points you can explore with friends and family. A red point shows your location. Start exploring by clicking the blue points of places and items related to the red point

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Trivia Answer

Outside Venice, facing the Adriatic, is a sandy island named the Lido, from the Latin ‘lidus’, meaning shore