Compare and contrast these two Lido pictures

: Hilsea Lido soon after its opening in July 1935 and, inset, pictured after the war''Picture Costen.co.uk
: Hilsea Lido soon after its opening in July 1935 and, inset, pictured after the war''Picture Costen.co.uk

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Here we have a fascinating pair of pictures of the main pool at Hilsea Lido.

They were both taken from the same location, but one was taken before the Second World War, the other after it.

jpns-23-10-12-032 RW Hilsea Lido post war SMALLER VERSION''Hilsea Lido, again from the top of the diving tower, but this time after the Second World War

jpns-23-10-12-032 RW Hilsea Lido post war SMALLER VERSION''Hilsea Lido, again from the top of the diving tower, but this time after the Second World War

As lido historian Jane Smith points out, the photographer was standing at the top of the 10-metre diving tower to take both.

If you look carefully at the swimmers at the edge of the pool, you can see them looking up and waving to the photographer perching 32 feet above them.

The older photograph was taken in 1935 – the opening season of the famous open-air north Portsmouth pool – because of the bunting displayed around the pool and the sun parasols next to the former Hilsea Cafe.

Another interesting feature is the second set of entrance gates on the far left hand side. These disappeared at the end of the 1960s when the motorway was constructed.

In contrast, the photo on the right, taken just after the war, shows a very different scene.

The bunting and parasols have disappeared, never to reappear in any other photos.

The deckchairs have gone and the title is now just ‘The Lido’.

Some of the swimmers are still waving up to the photographer though, and we can see the entrance arch and tower in the distant background which was built in 1938.

Another feature that dates the picture more precisely is the gantry over the entrance to the miniature railway on the far right hand side. The railway ran from 1946-1951.

Jane, who sent me the more recent picture, says: ‘This second postcard must have been in circulation for a few years because mine is postmarked September 6, 1962. The message on the back reads:

‘‘Having a lovely time, although it’s raining this morning.

‘‘We are going for a swim, indoor pool and it’s heated [obviously not the lido].

‘‘We went to Southsea yesterday, did shopping, then on the beach.

‘‘There was a fair on the pier, mostly for children. We couldn’t get Kel to leave, in fact we lost him for a while.’’

A typical Southsea holiday.