Leytonstone’s Lost Lido

In this meditation on the Hollow Ponds there are two mysteries left unresolved. Firstly the sign on the boathouse that reads, “Have You Seen the Hollow Pond Bear”. I assumed at the time that it was a reference to the area’s long heritage as a gay cruising spot but on reflection wonder if it might actually refer to a Grizzly. Over at the Welsh Harp Reservoir between Barnet and Brent an actual bear escaped from a menagerie there in 1871. So there is precedent for this kind of thing.

Whipps Cross Lido

Opening of Whipps Cross Lido in 1932 From the Waltham Forest Guardian – credit Vestry House Museum

Absent from the video is the Whipps Cross Lido created in 1905 and returned to the forest in 1983. Wikipedia mentions that it was known locally as “the Batho”. I had half a mind to find the footprint of the site but had spent so long filming the geese in slow-motion that I’d used up my time – the sojourn was over. But somewhere beneath the grass north of the Hollow Pond between Lea Bridge and Snaresbrook Roads there lurks the lost lagoon of Leytonstone.


Here’s an interesting article about the creation of the Hollow Ponds from the local paper


2018 Update

Finally went back to look for the Whipps Cross Lido in this video


  1. Mike Holliday   •  

    I’m pretty sure I know where the footprint of the Lido is, John. I walked in that part of Epping Forest quite a bit during the 1990s, and I recall an area that I always thought of as a bit odd, with some sort of artificial bank, overgrown with vegetation and running at right angles to Snaresbrook Road, and a flattish area by the side of it. The only thing that surprises me is that it only “went back to the forest” as late as 1983. I’ll get back there shortly and take some photos (just as soon as I’ve done the second leg of my mad walk up the River Roding from the Thames to its source).

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Thanks Mike – that certainly tally’s with where it’s described as being. I think there are some aerial photos of the outline somewhere online. Look forward to hearing about the Roding walk

  2. Mike Holliday   •  

    I visited the area yesterday and wrote a short blog post with some photos: http://www.holli.co.uk/blog-lost-lido.htm. I found a few remains, even though it wasn’t quite how I recalled it!

    At the top right of that page are links to a description of the first two sections of my walk up the Roding.

  3. Mark   •  

    The LIdo was great fun, A lare oblong pool with a round driving pool by the entrance. Much enjouyed, especially in the summer of 76. I’m surprised that it was gone by 1983, but as a boy of 11 in 1976, things obviously passed me by. And then we moved away in 79.

  4. Pingback: Looking for Leytonstone's Lost Lido at Whipps Cross - the lost byway

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