For the first time in its history, Hathersage Lido is staying open through the winter.
Set in a village of around 2000 inhabitants in the Derbyshire Peak District, Hathersage Swimming Pool is an unlikely find. First opened in the 1930s, Hathersage, like many lidos, has at times struggled to keep going and has an interesting history. The original pool was made possible by a donation from local businessman George Herbert Lawrence, who was killed in World War Two when a bomb struck his Sheffield factory. By 1947, the pool was in financial trouble and was only saved by local donations. From the 1950s onwards, it was largely kept going by volunteers until the 1980s when the two local councils agreed to contribute to the costs.
During the summer today, Hathersage Pool is heated to a steamy 28 degrees. In 2016, pool management experimented with extended opening into October and November, with the boilers still running but at a reduced level to maintain the temperature at around 20 degrees. On 17 December 2017, the boilers were turned off until March, yet the pool has remained open and is being regularly used by a determined group of cold water enthusiasts.
Mike Wellington is the Pool Manager for Hathersage Lido. He says the motivation behind the winter opening is growth in outdoor and wild swimming and increasing demand from swimmers creating an opportunity to tap into. He also hopes it will help the pool’s finances: “Five years ago we were only a six-month facility. Now being open for 12 months allows us to follow more funding avenues that previously we have been unable to apply for.”
Winter opening times are currently every Saturday and Sunday 9am to 1 pm. This will continue through to 25 February when the boilers are turned back on. All sessions are open to the public.
On the day we spoke to Mike, the pool temperature was 9.4 degrees. He is looking at heating options to possibly push the temperature up to around 14 degrees in future years.
For those wanting to warm up post swim there are two hot showers, a covered seating area and a café.
Find out more: http://www.hathersageswimmingpool.co.uk/