In the late 1880s, a bathing station was built on the site of the former saltpans. This was in a rocky cove, which is at one end of what is now Winton Circus. This bathing station had changing facilities and some seated accommodation for spectators although seating was often just the surrounding rocks in the bay. This proved to be a very popular venue. This station was replaced in the 1930s.
On 10th June 1933, a new bathing and yacht pond was opened on the same site. Its claim to fame was that it was the largest tidal pool of the time in Scotland. Not only was it the finest open air pool but it boasted modern changing rooms, showers, a tea room, seating, a roof balcony and flood lights for mid night bathing.
The Bathing pond was opened by the Lord Provost of Glasgow, showing the links between Saltcoats and the thousands of visitors coming on their summer holidays or for day trips from the city to the seaside. The chairman of the opening event was Baillie Andrew Kennedy. Provost John Christie, bath master Allan Nelson, assistant bath master James Rainey, George Harley, burgh surveyor and all members of the council were in attendance.
On a dull and rainy day the provost's wife presented The Lord Provost of Glasgow's wife with a pair of scissors to cut the ribbon to officially open the new pond. Admission to the event was 7d. reserved seats 2/4d and unreserved seats 1/2d. Swimming galas were much appreciated by the many who attended the event. The tearoom had teas, coffees, ice cream and confectionary for sale. A season ticket for young people cost 2 shillings in the 1930s and was a great meeting place for all ages. Fashion displays, life saving demonstrations, diving contests, polo matches as well as numerous swimming galas were all popular with both visitors and local people. The swimming club held Miss Saltcoats competitions. Attendance often was over 2,000 per day.
On one day in July 1933 a record 4,511 paid to be part of this wonderful new experience. Throughout the next 50 years crowds flocked to the pond in Saltcoats, especially during the Glasgow Fair holiday. With the opening of indoor pools at the Magnum and later at Harvie's in Stevenston the pond's attendance declined. In 1983 the pond was demolished and in 1989 the site was re-developed and is now a landscaped area.
The overhead photo of the lido below is produced courtesy of the Britain from Above website.
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