Lido Events through the Seasons
Since the renovations, Lido attendance has significantly improved, both in summer and in winter. In 2006 there were 75,000 users. The revival of enthusiasm for outdoor swimming and the perceived health benefits of cold-water immersion have played a part, as has the boom in training for triathlons. Water polo clubs also train here out of hours in the summer.
From 1947 until 1968, the Lido was the venue for the London County swimming, diving and water polo championships, together with Brockwell Park Lido. It staged the heats for north London competitors each year and the finals in alternate years, until these moved to the indoor pool at Crystal Palace. Photographs of these events are kept in the London Metropolitan Archives, and there is film footage of the 1947 waterpolo and swimming championships in a promotional film made in 1950 called London’s Green Heritage here (between 9 and 10 minutes in), you can watch it here.
In 1957 Olympic gold medallist Judy Grinham was among the swimmers.
Since 1999 the Lido has hosted the Hampstead Heath Duathlon, which offers an opportunity to swim in each of the Heath’s swimming facilities and to run between them. In 2017 nearly 300 competitors took part and it is a highlight of the Hampstead Heath events calendar, in early September.
Several popular charity events take place each year, particularly in winter. They include the outdoor Swimming Society’s December Dip, the Haven House Chilly Dip, and the Parliament Hill Icy Swim Hootenanny (until 2018). These are often featured in the media:
The black and white photos are reproduced with the permission of the London Metropolitan Archives, from their collection, and the colour ones by permission of Ruth Corney, www.ruthcorney.com.