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Portobello Open Air Swimming Pool

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Portobello Open Air Swimming Pool
Portobello Open Air Swimming Pool
Portobello's Open Air Swimming Pool was opened in 1936 and had a distinctive Art Deco design. It was open between May and September and was equipped with diving boards and a wave machine. The wave making machine was the first to be installed in an outdoor pool in the UK and could generate waves up to 3ft high.

When it opened, it was the largest outdoor pool of its kind in Europe. The pool was enormous, 330 ft long by 150 ft wide. The one and a half million gallons of water required to fill the pool was filtered from the sea and heated by steam from the adjacent power station.

The outdoor pool closed for six years during the Second World War and had to be camouflaged to prevent it being used as a marker to enemy planes for the neighbouring power station.

The actor Sean Connery served as a Portobello lifeguard in the post-war period.

By the end of the 1960s, Portobello’s popularity waned as cheap package holidays became readily available. The pool fell into decline and the closure of the power station in 1978, removed what little heat there was for the water. The 1979 season was to be its last and the pool was finally demolished in 1988. The area is now redeveloped for five-a-side football.

Many of the pictures in this exhibition document the open air pool's construction between 1934-1936.