The town of Droitwich Spa is situated on vast deposits of salt, which has been extracted there for centuries. The town’s natural brine contains 2½ lbs of salt per gallon – ten times stronger than sea water and rivalled only by the Dead Sea.
When the Droitwich Spa Lido originally opened in 1935, diluted brine was pumped from local streams and was used to keep the pool aseptic, without the need for additional chemicals. The lido was heated to the exact temperature of the Mediterranean Sea and was marketed as the ‘seaside of Droitwich Spa’. The Mediterranean feel was spoken of in the press at the time.
It had been thought that the design of the Lido was the work of the landscape architect Thomas H. Mawson (1861-1933), a figure rooted in the Arts and Crafts tradition.
The main block is a precisely detailed pavilion featuring original metal windows. However, discussion with Chris Mawson (T.H. Mawson’s great grandson) has concluded that Droitwich Lido was probably designed by his son, Edward P. Mawson – who also designed Durnsford Road Open Air Pool in London.
During the Second World War, the Droitwich Spa Lido was temporarily closed, and its offices used by the military.
The lido permanently closed its doors in the autumn of 2000. However it continued to be a popular tourist attraction. Even after its closure people still travelled for miles to see the once bustling open air pool.
21st Century Reopening
In April 2005, the people of Droitwich Spa held a parish poll in which 98% voted in favour of restoring the lido. Following this, SALT (Save a Lido Today) worked with the District and Town councils to restore the Lido to a working condition.
In the summer of 2007, the Lido reopened with a newly refurbished pool. The water still benefits from a natural brine feed and the original 1930s fascia was left intact.
The Lido Today
The Droitwich Spa Lido is one of Britain’s last remaining inland, open air saltwater pools. The water is heated to a Mediterranean 23°c and the lido now boasts a sun terrace, beach entry, café and children’s wet play area with water cannons and fountains.
The original art deco building stands tall at the end of the pool and the lido premises are nestled in beautiful, green parkland.
The 40m pool has been previously voted as the 5th best lido in Britain by The Times newspaper and has held the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 3 years running.
Every season the valve to the brine feed is opened from the Pump Room, located in Tower Hill. The water level of the lido is dropped to allow the 40,000 litres of brine to filter into the pool, this is then topped up monthly throughout the season.
Droitwich Spa Lido continues to attract thousands of yearly visitors to its beautiful and unique brine fed pool.