Broomhill Pool – Ipswich

The lido in Ipswich, aka Broomhill Pool was opened in 1938. It was thought to be one of the best pools of the time. It closed in 2002 to the disdain of many. There is a campaign to save and restore it though.

There are two pools at the Lido – a small child’s pool and a larger & deeper adult pool – they’re both full of crap. The deep end of the adult pool has four diving boards.

On one side of the pool there is a “beach” area, for resting between swims and sunbathing. It was hard to imagine on a cold winter’s morning.

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51 Responses to Broomhill Pool – Ipswich

  1. Really beautiful photos, particularly the panoramic long one. The fight to save Broomhill is now in its fifth year, with the results of a Feasibility Study due out soon.

  2. Niall says:

    I used to go here every summer when I was a kid. It was always packed, and we loved it. I’m really miffed to see it in such a state. I can’t believe people stopped going, so I guess the council just decided to shut it so as not to spend any money on it,

  3. Niall – don’t give up hope. The fight to save it has been continuous and I have just started a new Yahoo Group called Pooling Resources –

  4. Ian Benfield says:

    Good photos, though sad! Most of the rubbish and weeds were removed during Heritage Open Day last summer and during the Feasibility Study. A full report is now with the council and we members of the Bromhill Pool Trust are hoping for good news soon.

  5. Will hopefully be standing in the local elections as independent candidate with broomhill pool as the main issue. If anyone would like to help deliver leaflets after Easter, please let me know.

  6. trish says:

    i used to swim here when i was a child, its so sad to see it in this state. will it ever be re-opened?!?!?!

    • judith usherwood says:

      yes it was a wonderful place to go in the summer months and after a swim we would sit on the terraces and drink hot bovril.

  7. The site of Broomhill Pool should be open this Saturday and Sunday 8th and 9th September 2007 as part of the Heritage Open Days.
    The times advertised are 11am- 5pm on both days.

  8. Ian Benfield says:

    The feasibility study showed there were no major defects at the lido and IBC have pledged £1million towards saving it. In March 2008 the Broomhill Pool Trust will apply for a £1.9 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the total £3.9 million needed. Target date for reopening is 2010.

  9. Open Day at the lido on 26th April 2008 to mark Broomhill Pool’s 70th anniversary

    See main website for details

    www save broomhill pool . org

    The Heritage Lottery Bid has now been submitted too.

  10. Jim says:

    Why has no-one considered alternatives to bringing back this poorly constructed, poorly situated pool. It is away from all major transport links, on a hill (now whoever thought building a massively, heavy construction on the side of a steep hill was a good idea?). No one ever went there except on the sunniest days (I worked there for the 3 of Broomhills last 4 years). It really irks me that people keep saying “I swam their as a child and it’s sad to see it in this state”, why haven’t they been there for 10 or 20 years?!?! The council already shut it temporarily before this recent closure and when it opened again did we see huge visitor numbers desperate to keep the place viable? No.

    It was a relatively cheap place to maintain, but if the council want to blow £1 million of our cash please build us a NEW outdoor lido, somewhere flat and easy to get to, maybe even on one of these out of town areas like Next Generation. Or they could pull their finger out and sort out the replacement for Crown Pools that was talked about so much recently and then nothing was done about it.

    To sum up, this derelict site is costing tens of thousands of pounds a year more than it did when it was open, and the sooner a decision is made the better.

  11. It wasn’t poorly constructed at all and has lasted much better than leisure pools built several decades later. The souvenir programme from 1938 gives exact details of the thickness of the concrete, how the pool was designed, the filtration system etc. The “hillside” argument is trotted out on a regular basis but only ever seems to be applied to the pool and not to the houses!

    The pool was less popular in its closing years because the Council wanted it to close: they put the prices up so that Broomhill was much more expensive than Crown Pools; they refused to consider season tickets as an option; they made the opening hours erratic and undependable; they made no effort to provide times for serious swimmers to do length training; they did not advertise the pool or promote it – when swimmers went to Crown Pools, for example, there wasn’t a single notice up about the lido too.

    As for transport links it is a five minute bus ride from the town centre, with buses going up and down the main Norwich Rd at frequent intervals and IBC could have laid on a shuttle bus if they had wanted to promote the lido.

  12. Over 500 people attended the Open Day on April 26th 2008, which was the nearest Saturday to the pool’s 70th Anniversary on 30th April. The day was blessed with glorious sunshine, in an otherwise rather grey and cloudy month!

    An exhibition of the pool’s history and hopeful future was on view, along with the impressive archive of six years relentless campaigning. Broomhill Pool closed in the autumn of 2002, so it is something of a miracle that the bulldozers have been kept at bay, so far, by this campaign.

  13. lyn says:

    I cannot believe how the place has changed and think its awful it’s been closed so long.

    I spent long days there as a child in the summers, it was a cheap day out with a pack up (anyone remember the ‘easy rider summer passes’ for the sports facilities in Ips and free bus travel for kids summer hols?), we cycled there although it was easy to get the bus too and given the state of our local sea (which is hardly inviting) is a fab alternative to going abroad or being cooped up in an indoor pool at the height of summer. When I got older I spent summers working there as a pool attendant and would love to be able to go again for a full day out.

    I know in our fickle weather it is easy to say it’s costing a fortune to run but agree it was never well advertised – more local word and mouth (and you’d be suprised how many locals don’t know it’s there!) but to have such a wonderful unique facility in our local community should be used positively, to get people outside, socialising and keeping fit. There are too many distractions to keep us in our own homes these days or simple trips out for a family cost an arm and a leg – maybe this lido can be brought back to it’s former glory and when we get those lovely warm sunny summer days it can be used as it was intended and I don’t have to wistfully think if only Broomhill was open today!

  14. I am walking in the Orwell Walk (25 miles) on 8th June to raise money for the Broomhill Pool Trust – see main website (save broomhill pool) if you would like to sponsor this effort.

    Thank you!

  15. The Orwell Walk was flooded off this year after torrential rain in the days leading up to 8th June

    It will now take place on Sunday 7th September 2008, so if you would like to sponsor the effort to raise funds for Broomhill Pool you still can!


    On 16th December the Executive Committee of Ipswich Borough Council will vote through measures to drain the water from Broomhill Pool, remove the diving boards and fill the pool in.

    The project will cost approx £113,000 and involves £20,000 of granular fill for the base of the pool and £55,000 worth of sand or similar material to fill the pool in. It is difficult to see how this will ever be reversible.

  17. Paul says:

    That seems like a sad end to the pool. Do you know if this actually happened in the end?

  18. It looks as if the idea of dumping £75,000 worth of sand and granular infill into the lido has been shelved at the moment. The Council are currently looking at putting boards over the pool, I believe.

    The campaign to try and save Broomhill Pool remains ongoing.

  19. Rob says:

    Our outdoor lido in Droitwich Spa Worcestershire was closed for seven years and was in much the same condition as yours is now. It re-opened in 2007 after Wychavon council spent 1.5 million on a refurb.It is absolutely fantastic to have it back and would urge whoever is responsible to redevelop your site if at all possible as it would be a great shame to lose it forever. Good luck with your campain.

  20. Ipswich Borough Council have now applied for Listed Building Consent to install a “temporary” corrugated steel cover over both pools and a temporary steel security screen around the diving platform, plus removal of changing cubicle doors and storage on site.

    It is an enormous pity that all their efforts and funding go towards keeping this pool closed, rather than getting it open again.

  21. Mr Waverly says:

    Let’s hope that IBC get their arses in to gear and get this fascinating example of a lido repaired, made good, and BACK IN USE. I live not far away, and when I was a kid, the sight of literally hundreds of other kids, queueing patiently outside, the line snaking down the hill to Norwich road, told me that the long summer holidays had finally begun! So, Ipswich Borough Council, DEDIGITATE!

  22. I fought and obtained the grade two listing for this pool. However, unfortunately, this was in vain. I have been a thorn in the side of IBC and local government agencies. IBC will not open this pool for 3 reasons. 1. They never managed the pool safely and successfully. 2. They fiddled the gate cash for years to show on paper that It was not viable. 3. They do not want to see a success made of a venue they used to run at an extreme loss, the same as all venues they mismanage. The public will want to know why? why? Why?

  23. valerie giles says:

    I used this pool in the 60s/70s its a rotten shame to see it like this, i have been following the progress and have written 2 letters to the evening star in reply to people who are against this project. They were not printed as i remarked on our so called ambassedor for swimming,/sport,who could have given this project a big publicity airing when on tv and did not even mention it .

  24. The Broomhill Pool site will be open again for the Heritage Open Days coming up this weekend: September 12th and September 13th 2009

    Entrance is free, but donations are of course welcome.

    Time 10am – 5pm

    For anyone who doesn’t know the local area, the entrance is from Sherrington Road and not Broomhill Road.

    This September the campaign to try and save this pool moves into its eighth year; this has been fought continuously since 2002 and many people have contributed their efforts in different ways. Getting the pool “listed” was exceptionally important, Anthony, and thanks to everyone who has written letters to the Evening Star or EADT, regardless of whether or not they were printed! You still took the time to write.

    Broomhill Pool is now on the NMR – the National Monuments Record – on a website called PASTSCAPE run by English Heritage

  25. Ipswich Borough Council are currently advertising Broomhill Pool on the Leisure Opportunities website, asking for “Expressions of Interest” in the site.

  26. The work on covering over the lido has begun – why?

    The Council voted through the sum of £113,000 last December (2008) when they wanted to dump sand and granular infill in the pool and even though the cover is possibly going to cost less this still appears to be an absolute waste of money.

    The Council has just advertised for Expressions of Interest – if this move is successful then anyone taking over the pool will have to undo this work.

  27. Ruth Dugdall says:

    Does anyone know if it possible to visit the pool?
    I am a local writer and, as I too spend my teenage summers at Broom Hill, I am using this experience in my laterst novel. The photos are really useful, but a visit to the site would really help.
    I hope my book will also highlight the amazing experience a lido can be!

  28. You need to contact the Broomhill Pool Trust, Ruth. Log onto their website and use the “Contact Us” icon. This will go through to Mark Ling, the Press Officer for the Broomhill Pool Trust.

  29. The Executive of Ipswich Borough Council will be meeting on December 15th 2009 to discuss future options for the lido – one of their intentions is to withdraw their previous offer of providing £1 million towards the pool’s restoration. This officially expires at the end of December 2009 and the Council are using the recession as their reason for doing this.

    They are known to want extra funding for their own preferred heritage project (£4 million on Holywells Park) and it will therefore come as no surprise if the million pounds originally earmarked for the Broomhill Lido is seamlessly transferred over to works on Holywells Park.

  30. The report on Broomhill Pool that the Executive of Ipswich Borough Council will be considering on Tuesday 15th December 2009 contains a statement claiming that there is enough water space in Ipswich.

    It doesn’t say, however, that there is enough PUBLIC water space.

    Sport England combines public and private swimming pools when calculating whether or not there is enough swimming provision and therefore the Council are including pools like the one at David Lloyd health club, even though they cannot possibly take any credit for a private facility like that.

    The Executive will almost certainly rubber stamp the decision to take the million pounds away from Broomhill Pool next Tuesday and justify their actions because private and public pools can be combined to prove there is adequate water space in Ipswich.

  31. Claire says:

    I loved this pool. I would still go now even tho I used to go loads when I was young. I did think, this year, on the hot days what a shame I couldnt go for a swim to cool off. The prices did go up and so this put alot off from going.
    Please open it soon.

  32. The Executive of Ipswich Borough Council met on December 15th 2009 and took only a few moments to vote the one million pounds, (previously pledged towards the restoration), off the table.

    The Executive also considered an All Options report and chose Option 2 which is the possible transfer to an outside operator: the proposed recommendation was that “Executive resolves to support pursuing Option 2, namely the transfer of Broomhill Pool to an alternative provider.”

    Three possible operators have expressed an interest in the lido but Cllr Terry said they had all been informed that there was no money available to them from the council. It therefore remains to be seen what will happen early next year (2010). The three companies have been given until 10th February 2010 to submit proposals to Ipswich Borough Council.

    I personally feel that the advertisement for Expressions of Interest was very carefully timed for the late autumn of 2009, because the offer of the million pounds was due to expire on 31st December 2009. The council must have known that no company could get a bid together before Christmas.

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  34. Paul Geater’s latest articles on Broomhill Pool have been heavily slanted in the council’s favour, with the Ipswich Advertiser in particular, really going overboard with its “High Hopes for Broomhill Pool” story in the Thursday December 24th 2009 edition. (Star Advertiser – Ipswich edition)

    Where was Mr Geater, for example, when the council were trying to fill the pool in last year (Christmas 2008) with thousands of pounds worth of sand and granular infill? Why is there no journalistic balance to his reporting on this particular issue?

    This Grade II Listed pool has now been left deliberately and needlessly derelict by Ipswich Borough Council for over seven years, so vague and fluffy “hopes” that “the pool could be open for business again in the summer of 2013” are meaningless without the backing of a signed and sealed contract with an outside leisure operator.

    It is astonishing that the council’s decision to advertise for Expressions of Interest is being hailed as some kind of miraculous breakthrough, when this is a course of action that could have been adopted at any point over the last seven years. Ipswich Borough Council could have advertised whilst the pool was still open in 2001/2002 and therefore handed over a going concern to a leisure company.

    Instead operators are now being offered a property which has been repeatedly vandalized whilst in the council’s care and left neglected.

    It is therefore almost certain that the council will have to provide some kind of funding towards the pool’s initial restoration if it wants to see the Broomhill Pool saga come to some kind of conclusion.

    In the run up to the 2005 General Election the council offered a million pounds towards the pool’s refurbishment; in the run up to the 2010 General Election the council have neatly taken that money away again! That may be the Conservatives’ idea of progress, but it certainly isn’t mine, because in the intervening years the fabric of the pool has suffered further deterioration and attack.

    What will 2010 bring for this part of Suffolk’s heritage?

  35. The Council stated that three operators had decided to pursue a bid for the Broomhill Pool site. The “Expressions of Interest” advertisement simply referred to ‘recreational use’ and not specifically swimming.

    The potential operators have until February 10th 2010 to submit their plans and then the Council must examine their options. So this really is a crucial time for the Broomhill Lido.

  36. valerie giles says:

    I am writing this comment as i have had enough of reading paul geaters negative remarks on our towns most precious asset or should be? Once again i read the council have found £3 million for crown pools and also funds for fore street baths.It is now time to get your act together and get this lido up and running for the 2012 games, just look at the revenue it will bring to town

  37. I am now definitely standing in the General Election in Ipswich as an Independent Candidate, with Broomhill Pool as the single issue.

    Please make sure you are on the Electoral Register if you would like to vote to support the pool.

  38. tasha copland says:

    while ive been reading these comments on the site ive been outraged that they can afford to buy for it to be refilled but yet not to open it , i mean who in there right mind has the choice to say “oh lets fill it up , no one wants to use this shithole again.” i used to love the pool with a passion , i used to go there with my family and by myslef and i went there the day it closed in 2002 , it was heartbreaking to see it close .

    another thing that really pissed me off is that they can finally pay money out to get crown pools and fore street to be done up but yet not broomhill , broomhill made this town a great place to live, being allowed to swim in the summer sun with no cares ..

    this needs to be sorted out .. i want broomhill to be open again

  39. To Tasha and anyone else who would like to see Broomhill Pool open again:-

    The full text of my election leaflet is on-line; this site won’t allow links but just google Broomhill Pool

  40. Mr Waverly says:

    I noticed in an earlier entry that the magic figure of four million pounds was mentioned, and that the fear was it would possibly be utilised for a project in Holywells Park. Didn’t get there, did it? No. Crown Pools has recently had a refurb. Cost? Guess. Yup. Four million pounds. Strange, eh? I wouldn’t swim in Crown Pools if you bloody paid me. We have always seem to have got a council in Ipswich that ALWAYS ignores the wants of it’s citizens. ALWAYS. They think they know best, but they DO NOT. EVER. Just think of the closure of the airport that was ‘never used’, instigated by Cllr. Ball, who hated aircraft, which is not a good reason. But the council know best, nanny, nanny, nanny,
    Don’t give up the fight! These people need smacking down, big time.

  41. Mr Waverly says:

    I noticed in an earlier entry that the magic figure of four million pounds was mentioned, and that the fear was it would possibly be utilised for a project in Holywells Park. Didn’t get there, did it? No. Crown Pools has recently had a refurb. Cost? Guess. Yup. Four million pounds. Strange, eh? I wouldn’t swim in Crown Pools if you bloody paid me. We have always seem to have got a council in Ipswich that ALWAYS ignores the wants of it’s citizens. ALWAYS. They think they know best, but they DO NOT. EVER. Just think of the closure of the airport that was ‘never used’, instigated by Cllr. Ball, who hated aircraft, which is not a good reason. But the council know best, nanny, nanny, nanny,
    Don’t give up the fight! These people need smacking down, big time.

  42. The development agency, Choose Suffolk, has launched a new website on Suffolk Icons.
    Currently, Broomhill Pool is the top icon so please log on to view the entry for the lido and to vote for it.

  43. Mr Waverly says:

    I read in the Ipswich Evening Star [26/07/10], that several different parties were bidding to buy the pool. This is good news, surely? There was also a fair bit of bumph about IBC trying to save the place. What a Crock, as the Americans say. I also noticed that the sale was a ‘Closed Tender’. This seems a bit sinister, but maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I’m fond of the odd conspiracy! Here’s hoping that someone sensible purchases the pool and gets it back to it’s former glory. It’s an odd place in town, but one that has great memories of my long-vanished childhood.

  44. A national newspaper has already named one of the bidders as Fusion Lifestyle and the Council won’t get a better bid than that. Fusion run a number of leisure facilities including Brockwell Park Lido and the newly restored Uxbridge Lido.

  45. tasha copland says:

    thanks god there finally doing something about it , i mean it now taking them a good 6/7 years to start doing something about the pool but yet Beccles Lido opened today after 2 years of being closed so it goes to show other concils do something about it but are so called concil spend the money on stupid ponitless things like doing up Crown pools and like Mr Waverly perviosly said wouldnt ever set foot into that pool ever again , if im that bothered to swim im going to Feilxstowe pool because its much cleaner and safer there and plus they have a side 🙂 finger crossed they get a right bid that finally gets this pool finally opened

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  47. Barry fuller says:

    Used this pool a lot in the 1960s must admit I was a show off but I did go on to be all England sea cadet diving champion in 1967 and. Suffolk champion in 1968

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