St Leonard’s Bathing Pool – The epic seaside complex in St Leonards

An Olympic pool with tiered seating for 2,500 spectators. The pool was build in 1933, in time for the 1934 Empire Games, and the chalets.

The pool was built next to the beach of St Leonard’s town, on a massive scale 100 by 28 meters. The design resembled a Greek or Roman amphitheater, with curved, stepped terracing for spectators on one side and a curved deck for sunbathing on the other. It represented a transitional phase in lido design. At the center of the pool was an impressive array of diving boards up to 10 meters high, constructed from blocks of concrete.

The site of the former St Leonard’s Bathing Pool / Image source

In spite of the pool’s many contemporary features, commercially it was not a success. Hastings was desperate to attract visitors. The pool was really much too big for the town. As early as 1946, the town council tried to find someone to take over a lease on the pool. Eventually it was turned into a holiday camp and was finally demolished.

The bathing pool at St Leonards / Photograph: English Heritage

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