PETERBOROUGH

24th June 2017

If I had a pound for every person that has told me I would love Peterborough lido I’d probably have enough to treat myself to the largest pork pie you’ve ever seen. This is not to be sniffed at. It would have been unfair to take the money, though. I already knew I’d love Peterborough.

It’s one of the grand old ladies, as I like to think of them. Big, blousy (in a vintage glamour kind of way) and beautiful. It’s much photographed, and rightly so. So while I was expecting to love it, I wasn’t expecting any visual surprises. How wrong can you be? The devil in Peterborough, it seems, is in the detail.

Detail like the higgledy piggledy mosaic tiling underfoot through the entrance hall*, like the embossed metal signage, clothed in the paint of decades, on the transformer house door. Like the use of the phrase transformer house, in fact. How many pools have got one of those?

I hadn’t appreciated how mesmerised I’d be by the view of the clock tower from the water*. It had never occurred to me that the raised edge around the tank, piped in pale blue, would give the whole thing the air of a celebration cake ripe for cutting. I’m not even sure I’d ever noticed that raised edge.

And none of that even comes close to describing all the details. They’re very much in the eye of the beholder, the small things, it seems to me. So you should go yourself. And when you do plan in some extra time so that when you have enjoyed the crisp beauty of the water you can potter about a while and enjoy the crisp beauty of the detailing.

I do love Peterborough. Almost as much as I love large pork pies.

*These pictures have mysteriously not transferred to my iPad, and I am away from home… so you’ll have to wait for an update with those added .

Pledge at https://unbound.com/books/lidoguide for a copy of the first ever user guide to publicly accessible outdoor pools across the UK. A practical, beautiful and inspiring book telling you all you need to know to plan your own lido road trips.