Jesus Green Swimming Pool

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Jesus Green pool
The Basket Room

Jesus Green Swimming Pool is a lido situated on Jesus Green in Cambridge, England. Opened in 1923, it is one of the few remaining examples of the lidos built across the country in the 1920s — open air pools with space for activities other than swimming. Unusually, the pool is significantly longer than it is wide — this was a design idea to mimic swimming in the nearby river. It opens for public bathing between May and September every year.

Jesus Green, though only 15 yards (14 m) wide, is among the longest outdoor swimming pools in Europe at 100 yards (91 m) in length (the largest freshwater lido is Tooting Bec Lido in London, which is the same length, but 33 yards (30 m) wide).[1]

It has a depth of 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) at each end, and a maximum depth of 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) in the centre. Diving is allowed into the centre section of the pool. On busy days, the pool is delineated into lanes, with general recreational swimming occupying two thirds of the pool's width, and a fitness lane taking up the other third.

Located alongside the River Cam opposite Chesterton Road between Jesus Lock and Victoria Avenue Bridge, the pool has sunbathing space and is paved on one side with grass on the other.

Despite past attempts to shut it down, it has remained open and remains as one of the defining features of Cambridge in summer time. In 1997, the pool facilities were upgraded, with new shower and toilet facilities added, although the new design was complained about, due to problems with the architecture and plumbing. Despite the upgrades, the pool still retains most of its original features and remains of interest from a historical point of view.

There are separate male and female changing facilities, and domed structures containing showers at either end. An innovative basket room has been created for visitors who need to store their valuables in a safe location (the name refers to the numbered baskets allocated to customers).

There is a much smaller outdoor pool upstream of the city centre at Sheep's Green, and swimming in the Cam remains popular near Grantchester.

In Media[edit]

A short film titled "Jesus Green Pool" was produced in 2004 by amateur director Chris Cox. The film emphasizes the seasonal nature of the pool by documenting a single summer at the pool; from opening in the Spring, to closing in the Autumn. It was shown at the Cambridge Film Festival in the summer of 2005.[2] and the full version of the film is available to view freely online.


  1. ^ James, Lisa (27 March 2004). "UK: Here comes the summer". The Guardian. Cambridge's Jesus Green Pool [1]... is 100 yards long and 15 yards wide - one of the longest in Europe. Open daily throughout the summer season from 11am-6pm but will open earlier and later into the evening in mid-summer. 
  2. ^ "The film of Jesus Green Pool is an impressionistic, visual portrait of one of Cambridge's best kept secrets; an 84 year old open air pool, hidden away behind tall trees beside the River Cam.". BBC. 18 Jul 2005. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°12′47″N 0°07′23″E / 52.212963°N 0.123188°E / 52.212963; 0.123188