We want to get your support to help realise our dream and vision of creating a new, natural, beautiful lido for London’s River Thames.
About this project
Hi. We are Chris, James and Matt. Three Londoners with a dream of creating a new lido for London in the River Thames.
We’ve been planning this for what feels like years (although it’s really only been 18 months) and now with your help we’ll be able to make this world-class idea a reality.
Our vision is to create a swimming lido that reclaims the river, not just for people living in London, but for people visiting London too. So whether you are from London in the UK, London Ontario, London Kentucky or even London Island near Chile, this idea is for you too.
We are creating a lido which isn’t just for swimmers, but non-swimmers too; there will be Cine+Swim nights, a cafe, a haven for wildlife sitting alongside the lido too and so much more.
We’d like you to help us by donating whatever you can to the project. From £8 upwards we’ve got rewards for everyone. Your support will help us make this idea a reality and create a new world-class destination for everyone to enjoy in London.
What started as a dream many months ago is a step closer to reality. The original idea was conceived by Chris whilst on holiday in Zurich surrounded by the lake and its’ swimming facilities.
There were different facilities around the lake, each used by a different demographic and everyone that was using them looked like they felt at one with the natural environment whether they were swimming in it or simply socialising by it. We realised there was nothing like this in London’s largest body of water and public space, the River Thames, and so we set about sketching out the idea.
You’d never imagine that from this sketch, we’ve come so far, in such a short time.
The sketch quickly developed into an idea which would sit near Blackfriars Bridge containing multiple pools across different levels, making the most of the views on offer and the river below. In addition, the idea incorporated non-swimmers by providing decked areas for socialising and people (& nature) watching.
The pools filled with untreated River Thames water but centred around a cleaner River Thames. The original designs fitted naturally into their surrounding environment, but were envisioned as part of a ten-year long plan to clean the river.
Having generated so much interest through the national press and around the world we started to dream about a lido that would happen not in ten years time, but in two years time. One that didn’t rely on a totally clean river, but one that could filter and clean Thames water itself, before pumping it into the pools.
THAT LED US TO ‘MARK II’ – A MORE IMMEDIATELY WORKABLE AND SCALABLE FORMAT
In early 2014, we began to design the new version of Thames Baths further upstream, to deliver a lido that could be used in two years time, not ten.
The design works on the basis of a floating pontoon which rises and falls with the tide. The pools will be filled with River Thames water filtered through a bespoke filtration system making the water crystal clear.
The designs incorporate two pools; a 25m lap pool and a training pool. These pools will be heated (we like to think of it as being gently warmed) making them available for use all year around.
Our intention is to support local schools and offer free swimming to under 6s in the surrounding local boroughs (and we don’t want frozen children!). Plus to the hardy 65+ local swimmers who are keen to keep swimming all year around they will also get to swim cheaply.
MAKING IT CLEAN
Thames Baths is designed to be a natural swimming pool and therefore we’ve needed to seek out solutions that help make this happen.
One of the key elements of the lido is making sure that the water you swim in is filtered and clean.
It looks complicated but simply put, it is the best way of getting the water from the Thames into a clean enough state to swim in.
MAKING IT WARM
We have invested time weighing up the merits of warming the pools using renewable energy.
With a warmed pool we can make swimming available all year around to all of our key user groups. This means contributing on a bigger scale to the local community and it ultimately means more people have the opportunity to swim all year around.
MAKING IT HAPPEN
We like to think of ourselves as normal people trying to pursue a vision that gives back something special to the city we love to live in.
But it isn’t just us trying to make this happen. We have a brilliant team of world-class engineers, planners, graphic designers, cost consultants and early adopters behind us who share the same desire, who have the same belief, who are going to play a crucial role in making this happen.
Marine Engineers – Beckett Rankine
Landscape Architects – Jonathan Cook
Cost Consultants – Jackson Coles
Graphic Designers – Build
Services Engineers – Max Fordham
Legal Advisors – Calvert Solicitors
Tracey Emin CBE (artist)
Patricia Brown (urbanist)
Caitlin Davies (author)
Jenny Landreth (author & journalist)
Amy Sharrocks (artist)
Ellis Woodman, Director, The Architecture Foundation
Tim Marlow, Director of Artistic Programmes, Royal Academy of Arts
Ivan Harbour, Partner, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Peter Murray, Chairman, NLA
Kate Rew, Founder, The Outdoor Swimming Society
Megan Piper, Founder, The Line
By supporting this project you too will become one of those early adopters, people who are helping us make this project happen.
WHAT THE FUNDING WILL GO TOWARDS
The initial £125,000 will set us on the road to getting the Thames Baths built and in the river.
The first stage of that is to get planning permission.
Once we have planning permission we will be ready to push ahead to create one of the most talked about public spaces in London in 2017.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
The thrill of being an early supporter and investor in the project is as exciting as the prospect of swimming in the lido with the city around you. We can’t wait to push on and hope you are looking forward to it as much as we are.
WE ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE HAD SOME AMAZING SUPPORT SO FAR, FROM PEOPLE AND GLOBAL PRESS. WE’VE INCLUDED SOME OF IT HERE.
‘For years I have always been saying there is no reason why London can’t make more of the river and what better way to use it then create Thames Baths for the people of London to swim in’. Tracey Emin CBE
‘It looks absolutely fantastic… i kind of want to be the first person to swim in it, it looks brilliant…’ David Walliams, Author & Actor
“The RA has been delighted to witness the progression of an idea that began as an off-shoot from our Richard Rogers exhibition in 2013. Combining creative vision, an entrepreneurial spirit and a deeply felt conviction, Thames Baths has all the ingredients to make a positive and tangible impact on the urban environment and help rethink our relationship with the Thames, one of London’s great assets. We look forward to taking a dip in the Thames Baths before too long!” Tim Marlow, Director of Artistic Programmes, Royal Academy of Arts
‘The Thames is such a wonderful resource for London, yet we make so little use of it. As the water gets cleaner the Thames Baths is a great idea to celebrate that, to provide a spectacular leisure experience and to enliven the riverscape.’ Peter Murray, Chairman, New London Architecture
“The Thames Baths is an exciting development for outdoor swimming in the United Kingdom. Connecting swimmers back to urban waterways in this way is progressive. We hope it inspires other towns and cities across the country.” Kate Rew, Founder, Outdoor Swimming Society
You can see four of the articles below (we’ve also added a link to search results on Google at the bottom of the description):
Risks and challenges
There is nothing comparable to the Thames Baths in the UK. The team has been selected by us for their wealth of experience in similar projects and collectively we intend to deliver a truly unique product that you will love. Here are some of the main issues:
ARCHITECTURE AND ENGINEERING
Building anything in a river is complex.Thames Baths is a floating pontoon you might see in a marina or river. Similar pontoon based designs have been used in Vienna, Berlin and Paris. We have selected London’s foremost marine engineers to design the structure. They have spent years working with new and existing structures along the River Thames.
PLANNING AND OTHER CONSENTS
Over the last 18 months we’ve held numerous meetings to ensure the viability of the project, including with the Port of London Authority (PLA) and the City of London. We have been encouraged by their feedback.
Addressing the health and safety factors will be key and we will provide a safe and healthy baths for years to come. We already have some positive solutions to the concerns that have been raised over the last 6 months. These will make your experience at the Thames Baths even more enjoyable without compromising the unique setting.
FUNDING AND CONSTRUCTION COSTS
We are at a conceptual stage now so initial costings are estimates. As we pass through design development we will monitor the costs carefully.
MITIGATING AGAINST THE RISKS
To put in place checks and balances we have set up a Community Interest Company (CIC), to ensure transparency and to safeguard the community interest. Thames Baths CIC will return the financial surplus into its objectives locally, nationally and eventually, internationally. It will also have a mandatory ‘asset lock’, so that donors and investors can rest assured that their money will be legally tied to the enterprise’s original social goals.