“Lidos were a sybaritic reaction to the buttoned-up bashfulness of Victorian Britain. They cut against our national grumpiness and laziness. They were reckless and daring pieces of architecture for reckless and daring pursuits – in its own way, flashing flesh was as dangerous as diving. The shapes of the best 30s lidos evoke speed and movement, health and efficiency. The tight curves of Saltdean allude to human bodies tightened to perfection by 50 lengths. Lidos are unbritish – they trick us into thinking we are somewhere more relaxed, more Italian.” Christopher Beanland on lidos


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