Crittall in the swim with England’s finest

An openair swimming pool of a design described as the finest in England is being restored to its former elegance with Crittall windows playing a significant role.

Saltdean Lido, some five miles east of Brighton, is a Grade II* listed Art Deco masterpiece built in 1938 utilising an innovative reinforced concrete structure designed by architect Richard Jones. It is one of only three Grade II* listed lidos in the country and has been on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register for many years.

The structure epitomises the essence of the modernist movement with sweeping lines designed to elevate Saltdean’s status as a resort. In its heyday, immediately before the Second World War, holidaymakers and local residents would flock to it paying sixpence to swim and to sunbathe on the adjacent lawns.

After the war, during which it was used for Fire Service training, it lay derelict until restored by Brighton Borough Council and stayed in use until the late 1990s when local people banded together to defeat a developer’s plan to demolish the lido and build apartments on the site.

A Community Interest Company campaigned successfully to have the pool brought back into use which was achieved in 2017. Now it was the turn of the buildings currently being restored by Buxton Building Contractors of Surrey.


Once completed the building will house an Art Deco event space, suitable for weddings, an exercise studio, library, community hub, café and heritage learning zone plus workspace.

A key element of the design is the generous area of glazing facing the pool. Here will be installed Crittall Homelight Plus steel windows that replicate the original fenestration and, because of the slender frames, maximise the benefits of natural light on this bright coastal location.

The windows are also hot dipped galvanised to prevent corrosion and Duralife coated with marine grade polyester powder which will offer the highest level of protection against the aggressive wind-borne sea salts that caused damage to the original building.

Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, commented: “The handsome Saltdean Lido was inspired by contemporary ocean liner and aircraft design and is architecturally probably the finest in England.”

Once completed, thanks to the streamlined white concrete surfaces and the sparkling Crittall windows, the building will once more provide, quite literally, a shining example of its genre.

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