Memories stir as Lido is demolished

The Lido
The Lido

DECADES of aquatic history came crashing down in Matlock when demolition workers finally tore down The Lido.

The old swimming pool on Imperial Road was open for more than 73 years, finally closing its doors in August last year following the opening of The Arc.

The Lido has stood empty since then and a question mark hang over the future of the site.

Derbyshire Dales District Council has been granted planning permission to turn it into a car park in the short term, but speculation over its long term future continues to mount.

Some people have called for a new supermarket, others have asked for more independent shops and even a cinema.

A spokesman for the council said: “It’s important to stress that the long-term vision for the site is redevelopment to enhance the town centre.

“The Lido site forms part of the district council’s Bakewell Road redevelopment plan and I understand we have around five expressions of interest in the site from companies.

“The redevelopment plan hasn’t yet gone to committee in its full form – that should happen soon.

“In the short term we have planning permission to turn the site into a 70-space car park.

“Following demolition, we’ll be appointing a contractor to construct the car park and that should be up and running in around a month – good timing for the increased number of cars using Matlock in the spring and summer.”

While the future of the site is yet to be decided, there was no shortage of nostalgia for the Lido when the demolition crew finally moved onto the site.

An outpouring of comments and memories were left on the Mercury’s Facebook page when news of the demolition was announced.

Many schoolchildren learned to swim there, many under the guidance of instructor and Lido legend, Jack Soppitt.

Claire Pugh said: “Not many days passed that I didn’t go the Lido when I was growing up. Hours of training with the swimming club, it’s so sad to see it go.”

Lou Gregory added: “I have bucket loads of memories of the Lido spanning back to the 70s, what a sad day! Here`s hoping they build something really useful.”

Jill Peach wrote: “Very, very sad! Very happy memories of the place! The hours I have spent there with many good people!”

The Lido opened in 1938 as an open-air swimming pool, and was a major development in forming Matlock’s bid to flourish as a tourist town.

A roof was added in the 1970s, which involved removing the main diving board and the water cascades.

The cafe buildings, which also housed the main entrance, were demolished to make way for the Wilkinson’s shop that now faces on to Bank Road.

Patch-up work was carried out until news broke that Derbyshire Dales District Council was looking to open The Arc.