In recent years, open water and wild swimming has become increasingly popular with many people now purporting its physical and mental health benefits.

An influx of visitors to open water spaces during the Covid pandemic also called for much awareness to be raised about the dangers of cold water shock.

In the early 20th century, outdoor swimming was one of the most popular past times and at its peak, there were more than 300 active public outdoor pools.

Thanks to the development of the railway in the 1830s and 1840s, many Northern towns became popular holiday destinations and seaside resorts - and South Cumbria was no exception. 

According to Cumbria Archives, there were plans for an outdoor pool in Ulverston as early as 1908.

This was intended for only men and boys however, sadly, it was never built.

Back in the day, Barrow had the most swimming facilities of all the towns in Cumbria and three were built at different times just within a few hundred yards of each other on Abbey Road.

Barrow ASC is the oldest swimming club in Cumbria and fascinating images in our gallery show just how many people had fun at Walney Island open-air baths.

The lido-style venue was opened in a downpour during June 1931 and at the end of the Second World War, even hosted a contest to find Miss Barrow.

It was closed in 1965 after harmful bacteria was found in the water and was demolished a couple of years later.

A year after the Biggar Bank baths were constructed, one of the most famous lidos in the country was built which still remains, in a form, today - Grange Lido.

Accessed off the promenade, the Grange-over-Sands Lido was constructed in 1932 as a seaside salt-water lido.

By this time, public lidos were deliberately mixed and swimming for pleasure and socialising began to peak in popularity.

Grange is a fine example of its kind as its design includes ancillary buildings with an entrance block,  upper viewing gallery and attached sun decks, detached changing wings, terraces, pump house, paddling pool and stepped diving stage.

(Image: Sankey archive) Due to a shift in culture, and tidal currents, the use of Grange Lido declined during the 1960s as more indoor pools were built.

Grange Lido eventually closed in 1993 and its slides and diving boards were subsequently removed.

There has been growing support to restore Grange Lido's art deco heritage, social and community importance in the unique coastal setting.

Take a look at our gallery to see some the fascinating photographs taken by the local photographers, the Sankeys, which shows people in old-fashioned bathing suits enjoying its old slides and diving boards.