Broomhill Pool is a Grade II listed lido on Sherrington Road in Ipswich, Suffolk, England.


After a 13-year campaign, 2002 - 2015, Broomhill Pool has been successful in attracting potential funding of £5.3 million towards its restoration and re-opening. The Heritage Lottery Fund made its announcement on 9 October 2015 after leisure company Fusion Lifestyle submitted a bid in June. https://www.hlf.org.uk/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/major-national-lottery-grant-restore-and-reopen-ipswich%E2%80%99s-grade

Broomhill Pool opened on 30 April 1938 and closed in the autumn of 2002.[1][2] The last season when people could therefore actually swim in the lido was the summer of 2002.

Thanks to the work of the Twentieth Century Society, Broomhill Pool achieved Listed status in August 2001, but Ipswich Borough Council proceeded with their plans for closure and informed the Department of Culture Media and Sport that same year. In January 2002 the DCMS produced a list of closed Listed swimming pools and Broomhill Pool was on that list.

However, this was not generally known to local residents and it was not until February 2003, when the Ipswich Evening Star[3] carried a front page headline asking if Broomhill was now "Doomhill", that people realized the lido might be permanently closed.

Broomhill Pool is one of twelve Grade II listed lidos in England. It is East Anglia’s last 50+ metre outdoor pool (165 ft x 60ft complying with the 1938 A.S.A and A.D.A requirements), the only Grade II listed lido, has the last outdoor diving boards (believed to be the last surviving set of Wicksteed diving boards in the world) and is Ipswich’s last "moderne" style building.[4]

Heritage Site

2006 Broomhill Lido terraces

Broomhill Pool is located on Sherrington Road, and within Broomhill Park, N.W Ipswich.[5]

The original birthplace of Ipswich Town F.C. who played their first matches 1878-1888 before moving to Portman Road. The land was owned by the Sherrington family who were instrumental in the formation of Ipswich Town Football Club. The land was sold to the Borough of Ipswich for park land in 1925. The pool is built within Broomhill Park.

Sherrington Road is named after Ipswich schoolboy Sir Charles Scott Sherrington who won the 1932 Nobel Prize for medicine and was awarded the OM (Order of Merit, one of Britain’s highest honours). He lived nearby, in Valley Road.

In art deco style, Broomhill Open Air Swimming Pool was built at a cost of £17,000 and opened in April 1938. Originally heated to 70F (21C), its boilers were requisitioned for the war effort in 1941. 55 yards long and 8 lanes wide, the pool was 4.5 metres deep at the deep end, accommodated 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 metre diving boards, a grandstand for 700 spectators, and underwater flood lighting.

Broomhill Pool was included as one of the case studies in the book "Liquid Assets".[6] The Twentieth Century Society featured Broomhill Pool as their Building of the Month in February 2006. English Heritage have also recognised the importance of lidos and included them in the NMR - National Monuments Record - see the entry on the Pastscape website .[7]

For the last few years the pool site has been open to the public on the Heritage Open Days.[8]

The October 2009 issue of the Swimming Times carried a three-page article on the progress of the campaign so far, written by Sally Wainman. Since the publication of that article, Ipswich Borough Council have advertised the lido on the Leisure Opportunities website, asking for "Expressions of Interest." Sixteen replies were received and three of these operators wish to pursue the matter further.[9]

The Council have also proceeded with their plans to cover the pool over with metal sheeting, citing health and safety concerns as their reason for doing this. This action follows on from a vote taken by the Executive of Ipswich Borough Council in December 2008.

At that time the sum of £113,000 was voted through with the intention of filling the lido with sand and granular infill. Concerned members of the Trust and the public attended that meeting because the plan had not received Listed Building Consent. The Council later reconsidered and Listed Building Consent was duly sought for the metal sheeting proposal.

The Executive of Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) met on 15 December 2009 to consider an All Options report on the pool and to recommend that the million pounds previously pledged towards its restoration should be taken off the table.[10]

The Executive agreed to pursue Option 2, namely "the transfer of Broomhill Pool to an alternative provider." This meant that outside operators had until 10 February 2010 to present a business plan to Ipswich Borough Council. However, there is no guarantee that the pool site will be kept as a pool since the advertisement for Expressions of Interest only indicated general recreational use. The Executive also confirmed that the offer of the one million pounds would not be extended past 31 December 2009.

No operator was appointed during 2010 but in December of that year a fresh "Expressions of Interest" tender was launched, with the renewal of a possible financial contribution towards the restoration; any future operator will have to satisfy a range of conditions before this funding actually becomes available; this particular million pounds is not available until 2013/14

Broomhill Pool has been highlighted in electoral campaigns since 2003; most recently, Sally Wainman stood as an Independent Candidate in the 2010 General Election in the constituency of Ipswich, with the lido as the 'single issue'.

On 22 November 2011 the Executive Committee of Ipswich Borough Council considered another report on Broomhill Pool and voted to allow an outside operator (Fusion Lifestyle)the chance to develop detailed plans for restoring the lido; additional all-the-year round fitness facilities would be part of this plan. The Council have pledged up to a million pounds towards the restoration.

Although this is a major breakthrough in a very long-running campaign, much remains to be done as the Council and Fusion Lifestyle negotiate heads of terms during the course of 2012; it would certainly be a wonderful Olympic "legacy" if a full restoration gets the go ahead.

Campaign success: Fusion Lifestyle launched a full survey in Autumn 2014 to which over 3,000 people responded. This was followed by a bid for Heritage Lottery Funding in June 2015 and the good news on 9 October 2015 that the First Stage bid of £180,000 had been successful with £3.3 million in the pipeline for the Second Stage. Much work still remains to be done but Fusion are anticipating a possible opening date in 2020[11].

The Broomhill Pool Trust

The Trust[12] has fought for thirteen years to keep Broomhill pool in the public eye.[13] This has included political lobbying, raising funds and achieving a possible contribution of £1,000,000 towards the restoration from Ipswich Borough Council. The Trust has secured manifesto pledges; raised funds to conduct a £67,000 feasibility study; and is working with IBC in a joint project team to review "All Options" for the future of the facility.[14]

The future of the pool relies on gaining further lottery and government funds and securing a suitable pool operator.

The Trust’s objective is to restore Broomhill Pool, the last remaining Olympic length, Grade II listed lido in Suffolk & Norfolk, to full public use.

The Trust's activities are to lobby, explore and liaise with Ipswich Borough Council and all interested parties to preserve Broomhill Pool for future generations.

2006 Feasibility Findings:

  1. Public and user groups would like the facility re-opened; 18,500 petition signatures (2008), 88% of IBC’s own (2003) survey
  2. The pool does not suffer from major structural defects
  3. There is suitable funding available for re-development costs for the pool
  4. The pool can operate without making an operational loss
  5. Operators are willing to take over, manage and operate the pool
  6. The re-development of the pool is a cost effective solution for all


  1. ^ Merrick, Jay (23 April 2003). "Pulling the plug". The Independent. The pool was built in 1938 for £17,000 by Ipswich Borough Council, it was designed by E. Mc Laughlan, the Borough Engineer and Surveyor 
  2. ^ Footage of Broomhill Pool in 1947
  3. ^ Dow Jones Reuters Business Interactive LLC, Evening Star (Ipswich), OCLC 456177183 
  4. ^ "Crumbling lido wins architecture award". East Anglian Daily Times. 6 March 2006. Retrieved 12 September 2009. 
  5. ^ "Building of the Month: Broomhill Open Air Pool, Ipswich, Suffolk 1938". The Twentieth Century Society. February 2006. Retrieved 12 September 2009. 
  6. ^ Smith, Janet (2005), Liquid assets : the lidos and open air swimming pools of Britain, Played in Britain, English Heritage, OCLC 301157034 
  7. ^ Pastscape
  8. ^ See http://www.savebroomhillpool.org for details.
  9. ^ Amateur Swimming Association; Institute of Swimming (Great Britain) (2001), Swimming times, Swimming Times, ISSN 0039-7423, OCLC 61854255 
  10. ^ The Agenda and Reports are contained in this link Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine., with the lido at item 6.
  11. ^ "1930s lido set to reopen after £3.4m grant". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-01-02. 
  12. ^ The Broomhill Pool Trust is a registered charity (No.1102659)
  13. ^ "Broomhill team marks anniversary". Evening Star. 9 January 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2009. 
  14. ^ "Broomhill team marks anniversary". Evening Star. 9 January 2008. After negotiations, a sum of £58,450 was voted through by IBC Executive in August 2005 to cover most of the cost of a full-scale feasibility study. The Trust raised £9000 of funding to cover the balance. 

External links