I’m aware that great atmospheric locations are important to enrich and develop the scenes in a book, film or drama. Who could ever forget the visual impact of characters in the bar scene, during Star Wars? A diverse alien mix of clientele from across the galaxies, chilling out and letting their hair down with a drink!
As a friend of Save Grange Lido, I’d never considered the Lido in this light. But whilst binge watching the ITV crime drama series ‘The Bay’ the penny dropped. This iconic, once proud art deco lido is currently a shadow of its former self; Sad, Derelict, Neglected, Dangerous, even scary? Maybe I never saw the potential in this light because my focus was on lamenting it’s current sad plight and dreaming of a successful future restoration, bringing back the good old days.
For those who haven’t watched ‘The Bay’, it is a television crime drama, filmed on location in and around Morecambe, Lancashire. The police are called to investigate a case of two twins, reported missing by their family. The character Detective Sergeant Lisa Armstrong is one of the supervisors in the team of detectives who undertake the investigation. Her enquiries result in the discovery of one of the missing girls, Holly, in a derelict basement at the lido.
The dark stagnant water, derelict structures covered in graffiti, danger keep out signs and general abandonment provide a cold sinister backdrop, befitting of such a macabre crime scene. This is in total contrast, to what it once was; a place for families to socialise, relax and have fun, in a holiday resort setting. Perhaps this makes the location for the harrowing scene even darker.
But it wasn’t always like this… The Art Deco design Lido on the promenade at Grange Over Sands was built in 1932. A grand facility for those visiting the seaside town. The entrance building was accessed from the promenade, leading to viewing galleries and sun decks. Beyond, there was the 50 metre open air swimming pool, complemented with slides, diving boards, and a separate paddling pool.
From the 1930’s through to the 1960’s the lido was a very popular visitor attraction. An ideal place to enjoy a holiday, bask in the sun, and maybe under clouds too! Perfect for swimmers, with a 50 metre sea water pool and diving boards for the more adventurous. Whilst set against the beautiful backdrop of Morecambe Bay.
But the fun didn’t go on…. Not long into the 1960’s more indoor swimming pools were built across the country. This coincided with a drop in visitors to the outdoor pools and a fall in popularity. In 1993 the authorities decided that the repairs and upkeep of Grange Lido were too expensive, especially when compared to the option of a new build indoor pool, which was later built.
Sadly, Grange lido closed in 1993. Over the years several plans have sought to make use of the site or restore it, but none came to fruition. The Lido has remained closed ever since falling into further disrepair. There are now signs warning of ‘Danger of Death’ for those who illegally enter over the wire security fencing or wooden paneling. Sad times indeed.
But along came ‘Save Grange Lido’ …. The image above illustrates an impression of what the restoration would achieve. Save Grange Lido was established in 2011. “It came out of a public reaction to what many people felt was a short-sighted and destructive plan to demolish the buildings and fill the pool basin.” (Save Grange Lido)
The members of the group are from a wide background with experience and relevant skills in; leisure management, lido operation, business, restoration of historic buildings, tourism, marketing, planning, law, IT, journalism, history and architecture. But they have one thing in common for certain, a solid determination to restore the lido to its former glory.
Support for the restoration is growing; local families, residents, swimming clubs and people from further afield who recognise the benefits that a refurbished lido would bring. I personally see massive advantages for; heritage, community development, health & fitness, wellbeing, local business and tourism.
You can view the plans for the restoration and find out much more at the Save Grange Lido Website, by clicking on the icon below. There are also opportunities to get involved, join the friends scheme and donate to support the restoration.
Perhaps once the Lido is restored it can become a location for fictional story once again. But this time within a more cheerful and happy context.
Working to transform Grange lido into an iconic community-owned leisure facility, with a magnificent 50m swimming pool at its heart.