Broomhill Open Air Swimming Pool was designed by County-Borough of Ipswich engineer E McLauchlan. Built at a cost of £17,000, it was opened by County-Borough of Ipswich Mayor George Underwood on Saturday 30 April 1938. Presently, one of 17 listed lidos in Britain, the Modern style pool building is one of the most attractive Lido style open-air pools in Britain and has an unrivalled position on the edge of Broomhill Park.

Broomhill Pool is the deepest lido in Britain (jointly with Hilsea Lido) at 15ft deep. At 55 yards x 20 yards and 8 lanes wide, the pool volume is 464,000 gallons/2.1 million litres of water. Broomhill Pool has the highest outdoor diving boards in Britain (along with Faversham Pool). The last known Wicksteed (of Kettering) diving stage accommodates 2, 3, 4 and 5 metre diving boards, with separate 1 metre spring board. The facility includes a children’s pool 12.5 yards x 20 yards; plus grandstand for 700 spectators and changing cubicles for 70 ladies and 108 men. The facility was originally furnished with flood lighting and underwater flood lighting. The water was heated to 70f/21c and filtered. The 3 hour filtration rate for 2,500,000 litres of water was one of the fastest in the country. During the war the heating system was removed from the pool and attempts were made to camouflage it.

Rare footage of Broomhill from 1947 shows a diving display with British Woman’s Champion Betty Slade, and a family day out at Broomhill. Click here to view

The 1970’s and 1980’s saw as many as 2000 swimmers a day packing into Broomhill during the heatwaves and as many as 50-60,000 swimmers during the 90-100 day opening period, but lack of investment, a reduction in opening hours and period of opening, plus increasing health and safety restrictions all led to a reduction in the number of swimmers going to the pool.

The pool was Grade II Listed in 2001, yet sadly closed in 2002. A friends group was immediately formed, becoming the Broomhill Pool Trust in 2003. The Trust has worked tirelessly and continuously to ensure that this wonderful pool is saved.

Broomhill Pool front entrance building
(prior to opening in March 1938)
Ray Marshall swallow dive from 5m board 1947
Broomhill in mid 1950s (Credit: Archant)
Broomhill Pool fully floodlit
(prior to opening in March 1938)