Lido was the place to be on a hot day

Hilsea Lido soon after its opening in July 1935. PICTURE: PAUL COSTEN
Hilsea Lido soon after its opening in July 1935. PICTURE: PAUL COSTEN

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It looks as though it was a glorious summer’s day when this picture of ‘the new lido’ was taken at Hilsea, Portsmouth.

The place was packed with swimmers and strollers in a scene which shows just how important the lido and its surrounding pleasure gardens were to the people of the northern half of the city.

If the caption is to be believed and the lido had recently opened, this photograph was taken in the mid-1930s.

Between 1929 to 1933 Portsmouth City Council, as owners of the land, created gardens, a tennis court and a hard levelled area intended for roller skating and dancing. Hilsea Lido was officially opened on July 24, 1935.

The swimming pool, cafe and splashpool were designed by the city engineer, Joseph Parkin.

The total cost for the complex, built in the Modernist style, was £36,000.

Constructed over seven months in 1935 as an employment initiative, it was to provide leisure facilities for the new housing developments at Hilsea.

The main swimming pool could accommodate up to 900 swimmers and more than 1,000 spectators.

Opened from 7am until 10pm from the end of May until the beginning of October, the complex included night illuminations and a PA system to entertain the crowds.