Tynemouth outdoor swimming pool was first opened on 30th May 1925 and was once one of the area’s favourite and most prestigious attractions. It was automatically filled by the incoming tide and was for many years a popular venue for local families and holidaymakers.
This was a ‘boom’ time for seaside lidos and open air pools where some of the hardier folk thought nothing of taking a plunge in the chilly waters.
During the 1930s a total of 180 lidos and pools were built throughout the UK to add to the 50 which had already been constructed in the previous decade and they soon became a symbol of civic pride and progress.
Many swimming galas and competitions were held at Tynemouth Pool over the years; however after much neglect by the local authority, the pool fell into disuse and became derelict.
Perhaps the advent of cheap foreign travel was partly to blame, but a 1960 report suggested that swimming pools should be housed indoors with buildings that were capable of catering for a range of sports, and so the ‘leisure centre’ concept was born.
In 1996 the council made an effort to revamp Tynemouth Pool under the guise of converting it to a ‘rock pool’ by scattering large stones and boulders throughout. This was a disastrous failure and, as the neglect continued, what was once a fine outdoor lido soon became a controversial eyesore.
North Tyneside Council recently put together proposals to concrete over the site and convert it into a possible venue for cultural and sporting activities, however, the idea was met with hostile objections by many local residents who wanted to see the pool turned back into a swimming facility. As a result the Council withdrew the proposals and the site remains in a state of dereliction.
A local group was soon formed under the name ‘Friends of Tynemouth Outdoor Pool’, and they are currently working with the council on viable plans for the future development of the pool.
by Charlie Steel © 2013
Local historian and writer Charlie Steel has lived in Monkseaton for most of his life.
His published books include ‘Monkseaton Village Vol. 1’, ‘Monkseaton Village Vol. 2’, ‘Monkseaton & Hillheads’ and ‘Inns and Taverns of North Shields’, all of which are available from most local booksellers.