Tarlair Swimming Pool

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Picture of the pool in the 1960s

Tarlair Swimming Pool opened in 1931 at the base of a sea cliff just outside Macduff in Banffshire (now Aberdeenshire) in Scotland. This outdoor swimming complex was built in an Art Deco style with a main building backing onto the cliffs and changing rooms to its left hand side. It was commissioned by Macduff Burgh Council in 1929, with the architect being John C Miller, the Burgh Surveyor of MacDuff. The contractor for the project was Robert Morrison & Son of Macduff.[1] Since 2007 it has been protected as a category A listed building. It is considered by Historic Scotland to be the best example of only three surviving outdoor seaside pools in Scotland, the others being at Stonehaven and Gourock.[2]

The design of the pool was a clever use of pumped sea water to fill the pools, and flooding of the main pool at high tide to flush out the old water. The main pool had a diving board at the deep end and a child's chute at the shallow end, though both are now missing. The second-largest pool was a boating pool with the two remaining pools being paddling pools.

The complex is now in some disrepair with a mixture of weathering, rock falls and vandalism being the main causes. In 2010, a proposal was put forward for redevelopment of the complex as a lobster hatchery.[3]

In 2012 a small group of local residents in the Macduff community created a "Save Tarlair" page on the social networking site Facebook, which drew the attention of over 7000 followers to the plight of pool complex. A community group "Friends of Tarlair " has since been formed and is working with Aberdeenshire Council to try to find a way forward for the site as a community facility.

It has been announced that £300,000 will be earmarked for the refurbishment of the pools.[4]

Channel4 television made "Tarlair Outdoor Pool" the subject of the third episode of a series of six documentary films on "Britain's Abandoned Playgrounds".


  1. ^ http://www.buildingsatrisk.org.uk/BAR/detail.aspx?sctID=3421
  2. ^ "Tarlair Swimming Pool: Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Study into lobster hatchery plan at Tarlair pool site is completed". The Press and Journal. 15 November 2011.
  4. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-22893008

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Coordinates: 57°40′16″N 2°28′12″W / 57.671°N 2.470°W / 57.671; -2.470