Cliftonville, Margate, Kent, England, UK

Closed in 1978

The Disappointed Tourist: Lido, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

The Cliftonville Lido was built in 1926 by John Henry Iles (the founder of Margate’s Dreamland) on the site of the old Clifton Baths (built 1828). It was renamed the Cliftonville Lido in 1938. The concrete pool could hold 1,000 bathers and was filled everyday by the ebb and flow of the tide. The adjacent amphitheater could accommodate 3,000 people. The complex included many establishments including the Jolly Jar Tavern, Cliff Bar (later, the Jamaica Bar), the Cliff Café, the Café Normandie and the French Bar (replaced by Echoes Nightclub then by the Golden Garter Saloon, after a 1953 fire). At various points, the Lido also included an aquarium, billiard hall, a small zoo and a puppet theater and a hairdresser. The Lido was closed in 1978. The painting is based on an uncredited old black and white photograph from Pinterest.

I have nostalgic memories of the Cliftonville Lido in its heyday. You could spend the whole day there and never get bored. There was a theatre (one of the only ones in the country with a sliding roof), then the first level where Tony Savage played the organ to entertain many regulars in the deck chairs. These were surrounded by arcades of all kinds (at one time an aquarium!) The medium level had a large café/ music hall. The lower level again had bars with different music in them including “The Golden Garter” where some well-known names appeared…and then the beautiful swimming pool. Such a loss.  Betty R.   

Also requested by Kimberley D.