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Splashing! Old diving board at former Purley Way Lido site gets listed status

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THE Whitgift Almshouses, Addington Palace, St Mary's Church – all among Croydon's stable of listed buildings.

Now, to that roll call, add an old diving board in the middle of a garden centre.

The concrete diving board was built in 1935 at Purley Way lido, now the site of Croydon Purley Way Garden Centre, and is all that remains of the original Art Deco swimming pool.

Now the structure – one of only three diving boards from the era in the UK to have survived – is being given Grade II listed status by English Heritage.

At the height of its popularity, the lido attracted 9,000 visitors a day during the summer with the diving boards of three, five and ten metres the main attraction.

But in 1979 it had to be closed and a garden centre was opened on the site – however, the diving board remained.

Tracey Herbs, manager of the garden centre, said that a lot of its regular customers used the diving boards when the lido was open.

She said: "They come in and tell us that they did go off the top. They tell us all about it and we all love listening to it.

"It's an amazing focal point and we're so proud.

"It's a big part of the garden centre and it's a unique stamp to have it here. All the staff love it there's no other place like it."

A garden centre employee, who used to visit the lido during the summer as a child, told how she never dared jump off the top board.

She recalled: "I was about 10 when I came here. I used it when it was hot and plenty of people came then in the warm.

"It was a lovely place, all grass, and there were two fountains and a little pool for toddlers.

"It is strange working where I used to come to the swimming pool."

The board is one of five sporting attractions across London to be made into listed structures by English Heritage.

The others are: York Hall in Bethnal Green; the summer pavilion at Beckenham Tennis Club; a former squash court at Rivercourt House in Hammersmith; and the grandstand at Summers Lane sportsground in Barnet.

Heritage Minister Ed Vaizey said: "These new listings are a fine mixture of buildings and structures, providing a fascinating snapshot of how sport in the capital was enjoyed in years gone by.

"Each one of them is worth protecting, to help preserve the memories of glory, excitement and innocent fun they have provided for so many."

Splashing! Old diving board at former Purley Way Lido site gets listed status


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