The Tooting Bec Lido History Hub is part of Wandsworth Council’s Tooting Common Heritage Project, established with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund
Material relating to the history of Tooting Bec Lido and the South London Swimming Club is collected by the Tooting Bec Lido History Group who make it freely available on this website.
The Tooting Common Heritage Project also encompasses a number of other initiatives at the Lido, such as rebuilding the original entrance arches, installing a commemoration wall and renovating the pool’s iconic changing cubicles.
Tooting Bec Lido is one of Britain’s oldest open-air swimming pools – it was built in just four months in the spring of 1906. Originally known as Tooting Bathing Lake, the pool was designed partly as a communal bath because very few homes had their own bathrooms at the time.
Measuring 100 x 33 yards, the Lido holds a million gallons of unheated water. It was modernised in the 1930s with the installation of the aerator or fountain, the water filtration system, a café, showers and toilets.
More recent additions include the children’s paddling pool in 1999, the shallow end entrance in 2002 and the Lido Pavilion in 2017, funded by the South London Swimming Club, Sports England and Wandsworth Council.
The South London Swimming Club was established within weeks of the Tooting Bec Lido opening in 1906. The Club holds races on Sundays throughout the year, as well as on Christmas and New Year’s Days. Many members swim 365 days a year, come sun, rain or snow.
During the 1990s, the Club ran the Lido for the winter season and it continues to give practical voluntary help to both the Council and its leisure contractor, Places for People.
In 2006 the Club celebrated its own and the Lido’s centenary by hosting several major events, including the first UK Cold Water Swimming Championships and a three-day film festival, Dive in Movies.
Add your photos, cuttings, documents, or simply your memories, to our archive.
If you're interested in researching the past, we'd love you to join the Tooting Bec Lido History Group.
South London Swimming Club member Barbara Kohler braves the water despite the snow all around! Note: the wall at the shallow end to the left of the cafe has not yet been demolished.