The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Knap Lido to be demolished – Wales loses its best modern building

Vale of Glamorgan Council has announced the demolition of Knap Lido in Barry, Wales. The National Assembly for Wales granted conservation area consent to flatten Barry’s architectural highlight. Wales loses a modernist gem that since the 1920s has attracted swimmers from all over the country. The Lido was much loved and campaigned for by locals as well as the Twentieth Century Society. The pool’s end means a dramatic loss for Wales and the UK.

The Lido was closed by the authorities in 1996 and has since fallen into disrepair. The elegantly curved and brightly coloured buildings are a truly remarkable example of the use of early reinforced concrete. Local architects designed this playful scheme that embodies modernist ideas of public leisure and health. The building is a skilful translation of these thoughts into one of the most enjoyable examples of British 1920s architecture.

The council stopped subsidising the pool in the mid 1990s and since then the site has been closed to the public. Other covered leisure facilities and high maintenance costs were used as an argument for leaving Knap Lido derelict. In spite of huge public protests that mounted in a petition of 15.000 in 1997 to keep the pool open, Knap Lido was not restored. The government and the council have shown a shocking lack of care and imagination in dealing with one of the best parts of their heritage. The Lido will be much missed.

For more information please contact Cordula Zeidler, caseworker, on 020 7250 3857 or email cordula.zeidler(at)