Given the heat, I had the vague intention of visiting Brockwell Lido on my lunch today. But then a friend who was already there sent me a text saying the whole of Brixton must have phoned in sick, because the place is rammed. Not willing to expose my pasty torso to huge crowds just yet, I stayed home.
Wanting to see if the Lido had always been like this (despite knowing it hasn't), I thought I'd wildly swerve across the net in search of fun Brockwell Lido facts. While a mere glimpse of sun will pack every inch of the pool today, the Lido actually closed down in the early 90s because no one was using it. At the same time, the area was a bit of a hub for counter-culture types, and so it wasn't long before the disused Lido was home to a number of squatters. And man, did they put the empty pool to good use.
In August 1993, a group called Exploding Cinema transformed the empty pool into a 'dive-in' cinema/performance space. Judging by this video, it's something that a dozen rooftops across London are currently trying, and failing, to emulate:
According to Mike at Brixton Buzz (who witnessed the thing first hand), the event was featured in FACE magazine. Many think this attention galvanised efforts to turn it back into a functioning pool. After a successful bid for the contract by two former council workers, Brockwell Lido re-opened in 1994 and is still going strong today.
Here's an awful screengrab I took of the pool.