Swimmers across Britain will greet the longest day by plunging into a pool tomorrow. Many will take that summer solstice dip amid the splendour of a restored public lido or municipal baths as the national appetite for preserving historic leisure facilities grows.
Last week, the Grade II*-listed Victoria Baths in Manchester, which has been closed since 1993, moved a stage nearer to opening for swimmers again. The city has just announced stage two of a lengthy restoration – with a planned commercial refurbishment of its lavish marble Turkish baths, designed by architect Henry Price and first enjoyed when the baths were completed in 1906.
“It is a very good time for pool restoration,” says Historic Pools of Britain campaigner, Gill Wright, a swimming teacher and tireless evangelist for the sport. “We are still an aquatic mammal, I believe. We came out of the water and lots of us can’t wait to get back in again.”
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