A Thames Fit To Swim

Earlier this month a group of Charlton Lido swimmers gathered in the lido cafe on a sunny Wednesday evening to learn more about the Thames Fit To Swim campaign.


Theo Thomas, the London Waterkeeper, talked about the campaign and led a lively discussion.  Theo writes:

The charity London Waterkeeper wants the city to make the most of the River Thames and see its waters become truly swimmable. Copenhagen made its harbours swimmable in 15 years by cutting pollution, setting up real-time bathing water quality monitoring and creating new swimming areas. Their new urban beaches and ‘Harbour Baths’ are now the most popular open spaces in the city.

Svanemolle Beach 1

Svanemollen is a new urban beach built by Copenhagen.  There are screens displaying real-time bathing water quality information.

Swimming in the Thames upstream of Putney Bridge is allowed. But we’re a long way from seeing thousands of people getting into the river on a regular basis. Some days the Thames will meet swimming standards while on others it is dirty. Sadly no one knows when this is. That information doesn’t exist – but it should.

A Thames Fit To Swim paddle steamer Danny Burrows

A swim in the Thames at Twickenham in May. The water quality was excellent.

The ‘A Thames Fit To Swim’ campaign wants to see swimming zones designated and live bathing water quality information displayed online. We can give people a deeper connection with nature and boost our mental and physical health.  

To find out more, visit  http://londonwaterkeeper.org.uk/a-thames-fit-to-swim

We need the support of swimmers and swimming clubs around London so the campaign has a strong voice. For example we want Thames Water to tell us when its sewers overflow and meet its legal duties.

Theo Thomas, London Waterkeeper. theothomas@londonwaterkeeper.org.uk







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.