Lido Ladies revealing the glamorous history of outdoor pools stop at ‘amazing’ Hilsea Lido on tour promoting health benefits of swimming

HILSEA Lido welcomed two glamorous special guests as they visited on their tour of the nation’s outdoor pools.

Saturday, 3rd July 2021, 12:30 pm

The Lido Ladies are a pair of ‘fifty-something ladies from London’ on a mission to encourage everyone to visit lidos to swim for their physical and mental wellbeing.

Embracing the original idea of lidos as places for fun, glamour, and health, Nicola Foster and Jessica Walker travel across the country to promote lidos on their website and instagram account.

Today the ladies visited Hilsea Lido, which is now open for visitors.

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Jessica and Niola - the Lido Ladies - visit Hilsea Lido. Picture: Mike Cooter (020721)
Jessica and Niola - the Lido Ladies - visit Hilsea Lido. Picture: Mike Cooter (020721)

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Helen Downing-Emms, vice chair of the lido, said: ‘Hilsea Lido was built in 1935 and one of its reasons for being was to bring some glamour to the north of Portsmouth.

‘It’s lovely to see that people today still want that fun and that glamour.

‘The Lido Ladies brought that to us and it was lovely to welcome them.’

Jessica and Nicola - the Lido Ladies - visit Hilsea Lido. Picture: Mike Cooter (020721)

Nicola said: ‘We loved Hilsea Lido. We had a fantastic visit, it was really super. It is the most amazing pool.

‘This is the deepest pool in the UK, it’s got a 15ft diving facility. It’s classical Art Deco.

‘It’s an imperial sized pool - 220ft long. It’s quite a swim - not for the faint hearted!’

Jessica added: ‘It’ll exercise anyone’s lungs!’

Enjoying the sunshine. Picture: Mike Cooter (020721)

The pair also visited the pool’s new exhibition, which has been created by John Sadden with the help of Portsmouth Grammar School.

Jessica said: ‘We’re absolutely passionate about lidos - the architecture, the community, the bygone glamour and the fashion that surrounded them.

‘They were very racy in the 20s and 30s. It was the very first time that girls and boys were able to meet in a public space with less than normal attire.

‘They’re absolutely safe and it’s good, clean fun.’

Nicola added: ‘The people who picked up the challenge of running Hilsea Lido understand it’s an important facility for the Portsmouth community.

‘The ladies who volunteer are absolutely passionate about the lido and what it can bring to the community.

‘Pools like this are so needed. A place where people can come and find their part in life - whether as swimmers or lifeguards, or grandparents taking their grandchildren out for the day.’

Find out more at or by visiting the Lido Ladies’ instagram account at @lidoladieslondon.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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