Peckham has announced plans for a ‘Splashmob’ – an ironically named bikini-clad picnic on Sunday 10th July at the site of the historic lido. It marks the half-way point in their crowd- funding campaign on Spacehive. The campaign is on track for its target, but needs more donations if it is to be successful by the end of July.
Once a sparkling 50 metre outdoor swimming pool, the original Peckham Rye Lido served the swimmers and sun-bathers of South East London for over 50 years. But in 1987 it became out- dated and fell to disrepair. As a sign of changing trends of the time, it was closed and filled in. Now all that remains is a crumbling blue fountain and a mound of grass.
In recent years, the tides have turned again. Peckham is among a growing number of British outdoor pools that are re-opening their turnstiles – from Saltdean to Tarlair – as part of the renaissance of British Lidos and outdoor swimming.
A pool party like no other
Sunday 10th July will see Peckham locals and lido-lovers alike gathering for what they’d normally do by a lido – reading, eating, reclining by a fountain and of course, doing lengths. The only thing missing from the photo: the pool itself.
12pm-4pm Sunday 10th July, Peckham Rye Lido’s old site
“Peckham Lido isn’t open – yet. But come down in your swimmers, have a picnic & pose for the media, and maybe one day it will be. We’d love to see as many people the local area to come along and make merry on the grass where the lido once flowed. Then we’ll pose for what will hopefully be an iconic photograph, to show the world just how much Peckham people want their lido back. Of course, it will probably rain in which case the only water will be the great British drizzle, but we’ll see!” Lorelei Mathias, Creative/PR, Peckham Lido
The New-look Peckham Lido – much more than a pool
If they meet their target, the plan will be to resurrect Peckham Rye Lido on the exact site of its predecessor – as an Olympic-size pool, complete with wild swimming pond channeling the River Peck. The designs for ‘Peckham Beach’ also boast roof-top sunbathing areas, an outdoor cinema, gym and yoga studio, and a function room.
It will be a modern mecca for sun-bathing, health and well-being, to attract all walks of life in South East London. But it will feed the local community in many other ways:
- An invaluable asset for local schools and swimming clubs. If the next Michael Phelps or Rebecca Adlington lives in Peckham, no one would ever know, without a facility like this.
- It breathes new life into a deprived area of London, creating at least 40 full and part time jobs that would suit a range of skill sets and qualifications.
- It brings more people into the area and boosts the local economy. Local shops, suppliers, restaurants and bars in Peckham, Nunhead and East Dulwich will benefit from the greater footfall and investment.
The original lido, located at the tip of the park bordering Peckham Rye and East Dulwich Road, dates back to 1923, although swimming is known to have taken place at a pond on the same site as far back as the 1800s.