Cliftonville Lido and Clifton Baths named building of the month by conservation group

Cliftonville Lido complex Photo Visit England

The Cliftonville Lido and Clifton Baths have been chosen as building of the month by Save Britain’s Heritage.

The conservation group nominated the Art Deco complex saying it still has “a jauntiness despite being a shadow of its former self.”

The Lido was built by John Henry Iles, creator of Dreamland, in 1920. The pool was shut in the 1980s and has been filled in.

The Clifton Baths were designated Grade II listing in 2008 for the following several reasons:

They were constructed between 1824-28, meaning they are one of the earliest surviving seawater bathing establishments in the country, only two listed examples being earlier in date, both of which were later converted to residential accommodation.

The lower reservoir is probably the earliest surviving seawater plunge bath in the country;

The circular chamber and bathing machine tunnel of the Clifton Baths are the only known examples of purpose-built structures built to store bathing machines and convey them to the beach;

Photo Shams McArthur

The Clifton Baths is the only known example of a sea bathing establishment which was dug out of the cliffs, altering the existing topography.

The Clifton Baths were constructed between 1824-28 by John Boys at a cost of £15,000, excavated from the chalk cliff northeast of Margate harbour. The Gothic style exterior of flint and stone was mainly overbuilt by buildings of the Cliftonville Lido, constructed from 1926 onwards. The remaining features of the Clifton Baths are below ground level, excavated out of the chalk cliffs.

Originally the below ground level had a domed roof 33 feet (10m) high which protruded above ground level. This was truncated in the 1920s when the lido buildings were created and a concrete curved staircase and gallery were added after 1962 when the space was used as a nightclub.

SAVE suggest options for breathing new life into the Lido structures could include retail, food outlets and venue hire or sensitively designed holiday accommodation.

Photo Mel Chennell

A proposal for a sealife centre at the site, mooted in 2014, never came to fruition and the then-director, Paul Eley, of owner Stour Side Investments later resigned from the company as did Alexander Andreev, who was listed has having ‘significant control.’

In 2016 the Lido complex was put up for auction with a guide price of  £600,000 but it was later withdrawn.

The current owners, Lido Streetview Limited run by long-time Lido manager Neville Borck and Martyn Buckley, bought the site for £100,000 in February 2017.

Find the SAVE article here

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