Martin Arnold were approached by Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) requesting assistance in bringing Charlton Lido – one of four iconic London lidos originally designed by Harry Rowbotham and completed in 1939 – back to life after it had fallen into disrepair and any restoration was deemed not viable.

The site consisted of an Olympic size swimming pool, paddling pool, a main, u-shape building with centralised entrance, and a front garden screening the building from Shooters Hill Road as well as car parking along its west wing.

The scope included demolition of the main building and its replacement with a new multi-function leisure centre consisting of gym, multi-use studios, wet and dry changing facilities as well as rooftop café and terrace. The west wing was retained and facilitated pool plant while the main pool’s depth has been significantly reduced (from 3.2m to 1.8m on deep end) in order to make use of energy and water more efficient.


  • Client

    Greenwich Leisure Ltd

  • Contract Value


  • Duration

    22 months

  • Address

    Shooters Hill Rd, London,SE18 4LX

The key concept idea behind the new build element was to achieve an appearance reminiscent of water waves – hence the proposal for the shape as well as original proposal for the translucent material (polycarbonate). The new building sits largely within the existing building’s footprint. Initially, the main entrance was to be centralised with gym and studio on either side and dry changing at the back.

The location of the main entrance has been set adjacent to the new car parking along the west wing while the main floor level has been lowered to enable easy access to the building.

The originally proposed ‘building’s skin’ has also been substituted with more robust solutions – brick at ground floor level with rainscreen cladding at the top.

Added value:

  • Iconic lido brought back to life
  • Transformed appearance
  • Modern leisure facility with gym, studios and rooftop café with terrace
  • Building which promotes healthy lifestyle and social interactions

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