A look at a lido that made a big splash

Papplewick Lido
Papplewick Lido

THE former Papplewick Lido (pictured) made a big splash on the Dispatch district social scene for about 55 years, a quest speaker reminded a local club.

Previously the lido-owner, Roy Preston gave a talk to fellow members of Hucknall Men’s Probus Club at its February meeting at the Horse And Groom pub in Linby.

The lido was founded in 1932 by Nottingham businessman Herbert Scrivener on the site of the former Papplewick Grange.

Contact with Hucknall Labour Exchange led to a team of young men using shovels and picks to dig a hole for the swimming pool, which was fitted with a filter system to purify water from the River Leen.

This proved so effective that the lido was a stand-by to provide drinking water for Papplewick and Linby during the Second World War.

Attractions included an amusement arcade, a bar and a balcony for a dance orchestra. A lido sports club formed at the lido was “purely and simply a drinking club”.

Roy said the lido made a name for itself as the only premises in the East Midlands with a licence for dancing on Sunday evenings.

During the Second World War, it was popular with American and Polish airmen and local girls. Three national anthems — British, American and Polish — were played at dances.

A bus stop on the former Midland General B8 route was known as “the Poles’ paddling pool”.

Among other activities were police-dog training sessions. A sub-aqua club also used the pool, and test pilots from Rolls-Royce in Hucknall ran drills on what they should do if they crashed into the sea.

Roy said he personally benefited from first-aid tuition organised by a coalminers’ union at the lido. This later enabled him to help a young girl who was thrown from a horse in Blidworth Woods.

Famous Channel swimmer Tom Blower once gave a demonstration at the lido, while British pop singing star Vince Eager performed a concert there about 40 years ago.

The lido was hit by subsidence damage and occasionally had to be closed for repairs. Ultimately, the venue did not prove a viable concern and it closed about 25 years ago.

Roy ended his talk by saying: “At no time was a lifeguard ever employed or a life lost in the swimming pool. Health and safety, chew on that!”

During a question-and-answer session, a club member said his son had learned to swim at the lido.

At the club’s previous meeting, a talk on family history was given by Brian Drescher, owner-manager of the Southwell-based English Roots company.