Abandoned open-air pool, Edinburgh,1983

  • el
  • pt
  • All images by Alan Fergus

    Thank you to Alan Fergus

    This capsule was curated by Ben Reynolds

    9 comments to Abandoned open-air pool, Edinburgh,1983

    • Mike ww

      Some interesting photos – is there any chance of a refurbishment? Who owns it now? How valuable is the land? What does the Community think? Is there a ‘Public’ figure on note who would sponsor this? But in its heyday it must have looked spectacular………..

    • von

      agree with above…I really hope someone takes this on. there’s a lido near where I live that got restored to it’s former glory and it’s a real success. alas the one where I swam and played and canoodled while growing up was raised to the ground for a bloody bowlerama and car park. makes me very sad to see these gems rotting and ripped down.

    • AstroGirl

      It seems to have been refurbished and reopened as a very stylish facility with substantial Victorian features remaining and a Turkish bath attached.

      However the main pool is now only 25m and – here’s a line to strike dismay into the heart of the serious swimmer – “During public swimming the maximum depth is set to 1.3m.” Hmmm.

      So, while it’s good to know that the facility was saved for community use, and that many distinctive features were retained, it is definitely no longer a lido or possibly deep enough to provide the buoyancy that makes swimming a real pleasure.



    • Angel

      How sad to see such beautiful architecture left to decay. I think we need more of this sort of facility available around the country. I am lucky enough to have a recently refurbished Lido near me in Guildford, but its architecture isn’t a patch on this one!

    • AstroGirl

      …actually, the more I think about this, the more I sense that I’m wrong and the current pool is a refurbishment of a different facility altogether – not least because its features are too early to be part of a lido built in the 1930s. Looks like that pool might be gone entirely, but apparently it is featured in Janet Smith’s book on lidos entitled Liquid Assets for anyone seeking further information.

    • allybeag

      The original Portobello Open Air pool is long gone, demolished. There’s another swimming pool in Portobello though: an indoor public baths, which was indeed refurbished. Those of us who used to swim in the outdoor pool as kids are still very upset at its passing.

      Here’s how it looked when it was still open:

    • claire

      http://ssa.nls.uk/film.cfm?fid=3559 – it looked beautiful……..

    • lord bawbag

      They knocked that place down ages ago.

    • Hector Bumrush

      Portobello Open Air Pool (or ‘Porty Pool’ as the locals kint it) opened in May 1936. It was 300ft x 90ft and had seating for 6000. The pool water was heated by a warm stream from the nearby Portobello Power Station up until the 1970s. (The power station was closed in 1977). A major draw was the wave making machine.

      The place closed in 1979 and was knocked down in 1987. The site is now an indoor bowling and 5-a-side venue.

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