The Leas School,  Hoylake

The Lido

contributed by Adrian Stevenson

There must be sports washing facilities as good as the Lido elsewhere, but this writer has not heard of them. The last school magazine (1985 August) recounts that the Lido was first used in December 1932.

The Lido was a communal washing facility: a rectangular pool maybe 2m x 2.5m, maximum design depth about 300mm (though it could fill further without overflowing), with benches fixed round it. Football players (rugby or soccer) collect a lot of mud on knees, shins and forearms, so this facility was ideally suited to a hot scrubdown after the game, before changing out of sports kit.

Washing was mostly by hand, splashing the welcome warm water and rubbing off the dirt. To help with heavier dirt there were cloths and loofahs, and pummy-stones (pumice stones) for really recalcitrant stains.

Use of the Lido was supervised, presumably to reduce the risk of drowning, and to chivvy along the many who loved to linger after a f-f-freezing afternoon outdoors. The supervisor was in charge of the large taps which supplied the pool - experienced users knew how to distract the supervisor while opening the hot tap further. And there were also tricks for blocking the discharge and making the water as deep as possible.

Supervisors would often have to attend to injuries which only became obvious after washing and warmth: usually scrapes and scratches, sometimes big gashes, and (rarely) even broken bones.

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