It’s almost three years since we first ran a small feature on the surviving (mostly) open air pool at Tarlair, located on the northeastern coast of Scotland, near Macduff, and which first opened in the 1930s, when such places enjoyed wide popularity as those inspired by such things as the (Women’s) League for Health and Beauty sought healthy outdoor activities. Although the League is no longer, it lives on in The Fitness League — The Fitness League History.
There doesn’t seem to have been much progress in restoring the site, and it looks to the cynical eye as if the local council decided to have some of it filled in, possibly to gain some Brownie Points for “Making a decision and doing something positive… or working to remove a decaying eyesore”, or just make it harder for those who might keep fighting for its restoration and/or preservation.
If so, the idea has backfired, temporarily at least, and the renewed interest generated by the suggestion of filling in parts the site has led to that plan being thrown out… at least for as long as it takes to evaluate the cost of a full restoration.
Anyone interested in the restoration of the pool can find many more relevant links in the original post.
I would have to admit that the only “arty” things that really catch my eye are usually related to to the art deco style, and to some extent that suits me, because there are those who do not even accept that it is a style, or was a movement in its day.
It’s even better when the style is paired with something substantial and tangible, such as architecture, and one of the realisations of such a combination was the open air, or outdoor, swimming pool which was a feature of the years around the 1930s. In their day, they were considered to be very fashionable, and many people met at them.
Although many such pools were built, nearly all have been lost, having been abandoned, demolished or vandalised over the years, and you read further about some of them in this listing of tidal salt-water seaside swimming pools, by Oliver Merrington.
Tarlair Open Air Swimming Pool is one such example, located on the northeastern coast of Scotland, near Macduff. Opened in the 1930s, it was built in the art deco style, but was also modified over the years. I was operated by Banff and Buchan District Council until 1996, when it was finally closed, although it is reported to have later been used for open air concerts and a youth forum. The Macduff Model Boat Club has also been said to use it during the summer.
Back in 2007, the pool was granted category A-listed status because of its architectural and historic importance. Although this gives it legal protection, it doesn’t provide any funding, and the pool has been subject to attack through vandalism, and nature, as storms batter the structure with debris thrown from the sea, and the site nor features on the Buildings at Risk register: Tarlair Swimming Pool Complex, SCT Ref No 3421, Aberdeenshire.
Three years after it was listed, local councillors have finally met to assess possible options for the site, which includes development as a major tourist attraction (perhaps with one eye on the Scottish Government’s decree that Scottish tourism be increased by 50% by 2015), and have brought in consultants to carry out a study, with funding of £80,000.