Did you know that Leeds once had an open-air swimming pool?

It's only April - but this year's spring heatwave will remind older readers of the days when they could swim outdoors at Roundhay Park.

Thursday, 19th April 2018, 12:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th April 2018, 12:36 pm

An open-air pool was built at the southern foot of Waterloo Lake, near the dam, in 1907 by the unemployed as part of a public works project. It had stepped sides, a springboard, changing huts and a children's paddling pool.

The pool was chlorinated - there was a filtration hut nearby - but never heated and was notoriously chilly.

It was initially popular, but fell into decline and disrepair until 1937, when it was restored and rejuvenated. By the 1950s and 60s, it attracted around 100,000 visitors every summer.

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Sadly, the pool's usage declined again, and by the late 1980s it had shut and the area was later cleared - although remnants of the structure were visible until the early 2000s. Part of the site is a car park, while the grassed area remains prone to flooding. Visitors have managed to identify traces of the pool's outline and even remains of its blue paint among the undergrowth.

In 2014, a petition was launch to rebuild the pool by the stepfather of David Cullen, a 15-year-old boy who drowned swimming in Waterloo Lake in 2005. He believed that offering a swimming facility would prevent teenagers being tempted to enter the lake, but Leeds City Council have no plans to re-open the pool

Although it opened amid a national enthusiasm for open-air lidos during the early part of the 20th century, Roundhay's pool was never officially called a lido. The nearest outdoor pools can now be found at Ilkley, Helmsley and Ingleton, and there is also a long-running campaign to restore Otley's lido.