Contestants in the 1964 Miss Dunbar beauty pageant pose beside Dunbar Lido.
Contestants in the 1964 Miss Dunbar beauty pageant pose beside Dunbar Lido.

East Lothian Open Air Pools: These 15 pictures from the 1950s and 1960s show Dunbar and North Berwick's much-missed pools in their heyday

Outdoor cold water swimming has never been so popular – and East Lothian was well ahead of the game half a century ago, with two massively popular outdoor pools.

Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 12:14 pm

North Berwick’s outdoor pool was built in around 1900 and helped generations of younsters to learn how to swim – including a young Sir Ronnie Corbett.

The comedian was one of those who unsuccessfully attempted to save the pool when it was threatened with closure in the 1990s.

Despite the best efforts of local campaigners, East Lothian Council closed the pool – which was supposedly heated but rarely felt like it – in 1995.

It put an end to decades of fun, including the gala day tradition of throwing unlabelled food cans into the pool for children to retrieve.

A few miles east from North Berwick, the coastal town of Dunbar also had an open air pool – or lido – that dated back to the late 1880s.

Tourists flocked from Edinburgh and Glasgow to swim in the pool, that filled up with fresh seawater every high tide, from May to September.

In the 1960s and early 1970s the pool hosted everything from diving competitions and swimming galas to the annual Miss Dunbar beauty pageant.

Visitor numbers started to drop in the 1970s due to the increasing popularity of foreign holidays and the pool wasn’t properly maintained, with the bulldozers moving in to dismantle it in November 1984.

Here are 15 pictures to take you back to the pools’ glory days over half a century ago.

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