A Thames Fit To Swim

A truly swimmable River Thames would transform our relationship with one of the world’s iconic rivers. Thousands of people would benefit and the economy would be boosted.

But for this to happen we need to know when it is clean and when it is dirty.

London Waterkeeper is campaigning for a swimmable Thames (upstream of Putney Bridge to Hampton Court). This would boost the mental and physical health of thousands of people.  The campaign is backed by Caitlin Davis, Lewis Pugh and Thames Baths (among others).  London Waterkeeper is working with Kenwood Ladies Pond Association and members took part in a Thames Swim in May. You can read an article on the swim  here. 

River Thames
We’ve invited Theo Thomas, the London Waterkeeper, to Charlton Lido talk about what we need to do to make the Thames swimmable using 21st century technology and public access to environmental information.  If you’re an open water swimmer – or would like to experience swimming beyond the confines of a pool but have concerns about water quality – please do join us in the Cafe at Charlton Lido at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 5 July to hear about this important campaign.

To give us an idea of numbers, please email us to let us know if you would like to attend Theo’s talk.

Many thanks to the Lido for hosting this event.

London's Royal Docks opens as urban swimming pool

Now here’s a challenge

Levin woman Heather Robinson swims 88 lengths to celebrate her birthday.

Swimming’s health benefits are well known, but how’s this for an inspiring example of just what can be achieved?  Heather Robinson, from Levin in New Zealand, has just celebrated her 88th birthday by swimming 88 lengths of her local pool.  Next year, she’ll swim 89.  Her regular weekly swimming regime is 3 x 60 lengths (or 1.5km) – oh, and a 25km cycle ride on Sundays for good measure.  See the full story here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/.

Heather Robinson in action.

Heather’s story made me wonder what challenges Charlton Lido swimmers have set themselves.  Why don’t we share them here, so that we can find kindred spirits to join in, encourage each other when the going gets tough and celebrate our achievements when we complete them?


Friends of Charlton Lido now on Facebook

Friends of Charlton Lido is now on Facebook!  Please like us there, and invite friends to do the same: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfCharltonLido/.

We’d really like to know what you like most about the Lido! You can tell us on Facebook or here on the website – we look forward to reading your comments.IMG_1632


Increased opening hours from 3 April

Stop press: The Lido’s Spring opening hours, from Monday 3 April, will restore 7-day opening and a 6.30 am start on Mondays:

Monday                             6.30am-12noon & 2pm-8pm

Tuesday                             7am-12noon & 2pm-8pm

Wednesday – Friday     7am-12noon

Weekends                        9am-5pm

These times will be further reviewed in May in preparation for the full summer programme from June 2017.


FoCL Introductory Meetings, February 2017

Friends of Charlton Lido got off to a very positive start with a series of well-attended introductory meetings during February.  There was general agreement that although the group did not need to adopt a formal structure at present, its objectives could be summarised in the following four points:

  • To provide a forum to give GLL (Better) user feedback
  • To represent the interests of users of the lido and related facilities
  • To help build links between GLL and the local community
  • To campaign to secure the long term future of the lido in the interests of all users.

People are very strongly committed to the Lido, value it highly and are keen to support its ongoing development in order to safeguard what is acknowledged to be a costly facility to maintain.  The improved opening hours this winter have been very much appreciated, and there is strong support for the current pattern to be replicated next winter, and for additional hours to be offered when the levels of usage make this financially viable.

Lots of ideas were put forward for events and activities which could be used to help promote the lido more widely, both to the local community and to the wider community of swimmers.  Members indicated that they would be willing to work with the lido to enable some of these to take place, and an informal exploratory conversation has already taken place with the centre manager to see what might be possible.

Improving communication between Better and members remains a priority which the Friends group hopes to tackle, and it was agreed to set up a Facebook page to complement the website and Twitter feed.  We will try to use these to communicate information about events that are taking place as well as providing links to other swimming groups and events.

People put forward a number of potential improvements to the facilities that they would like to see.  The café is important for lots of people, and seen at present as a very under-used resource.  Whilst acknowledging the difficulties caused by the only access being from poolside, there would be strong support for any initiatives that could increase opening hours, particularly in the winter months.

Other ‘wish list’ items are the provision of a large clock on the end wall, clearly visible from the pool, a costume spinner – and some better weather protection for the lifeguards during the winter (London Fields has some rather natty Perspex cabins).  Ideas for additional activities included more Swim Doctor sessions, aqua aerobics  sessions, poolside pre-swim yoga and the return of a 6:30 early opening once a week during the summer.

Those of us who attended the meetings enjoyed the opportunity to meet fellow swimmers and to share ideas about making an already great local resource even better.  We’re not planning to meet frequently, but are keen to keep the communication going.  If you’d like to join the mailing list to be kept informed of future meetings and events, please email charlton.lido.friends@gmail.com.

Customer Forum – Wednesday 1 March at 6.30 pm at the Lido

There are still a few spaces for centre members at the next customer forum meeting.  If you would like to attend, please email charltonlido@gll.org to request a place.

Friends of Charlton Lido – Introductory Meetings

It’s been good to see so many people enjoying winter swimming at Charlton Lido over the past few months, in a year when outdoor swimming has been gaining much more publicity and popularity than ever.


If you’d like to get involved with other local swimmers, do come along to meet other Friends of Charlton Lido who are holding a couple of introductory meetings this week, on Wednesday 8 February at 7pm and on Friday 10 February at 12 noon, both in the White Swan, Charlton Village 

Please drop Rosemary Leeke a line on charlton.lido.friends@gmail.com if you plan to come so that we have an idea of numbers.

Friends of Charlton Lido – Let’s get started

Back in the autumn of 2013, a group of committed Lido swimmers held an initial meeting to discuss setting up a user group under the banner Friends of Charlton Lido; lots more expressed an interest but weren’t able to attend the meeting.  The consensus both of those who attended the meeting and of those responding via the Charlton Champion website was that a group would be beneficial.  However, at that time there weren’t enough people able to commit to getting it off the ground, and there was a hope that the full reopening of the Lido with the new gym and café would increase usage and address many of the concerns that were being expressed at the time.

Three years on it is clear that many of the same issues still continue to surface on a regular basis, so perhaps the time is now right to return to the proposal of establishing a Friends group to try to find a constructive way of tackling these.  Informal conversations in the pool and the changing rooms suggest that lots of regulars would support the idea – so let’s try and make it happen!

Back in 2013 the initial meeting considered the following possible Friends group objectives:

  • to provide a forum to give GLL (aka Better) user feedback
  • to represent the interests of users of the lido and related facilities
  • to help build links between GLL and the local community
  • to campaign to secure the long term future of the lido in the interests of swimmers.

Are these still the priorities? Are there others that need to be added? How could a Friends group help GLL to promote and market the Lido more effectively? How could it help to build a community of users, perhaps through organising events to draw more people in?  Some of the other London lidos are very successful at this – could we usefully create links with them?

Exploratory Meetings

It’s always difficult to find a time for a meeting that suits everyone, so as a way of trying to get something off the ground let’s have two: one on a weekday morning and one either on a weekday evening or at a weekend.  The aim of both would be to gauge the level of interest in being part of and if possible helping to organise a Friends’ group, to agree what its aims should be and to gather feedback about people’s main issues and suggestions.

If you support this idea and would like to be involved (even just by receiving updates), please register your interest by emailing Rosemary Leeke at charlton.lido.friends@gmail.com, and we will get back to you with some suggested meeting dates and a venue.