Lido Ponty, the National Lido of Wales opened to visitors this summer and has already become a major attraction.
The Grade II listed Art Deco treasure, situated in Pontypridd, balances its past with the future. Original turnstiles and wooden cubicles have all been maintained, with brand new features added including three heated pools, a sun terrace, visitor centre, function room and indoor and outdoor changing facilities.
Built in 1927, Lido Ponty was one of the most popular open-air lidos in the UK. Developed with the Miners’ Welfare Fund, the local miners made a contribution from their wages towards its construction.The facility was for many years the hub of the local community but fell into decline and closed in the 1990s.
However, ambitious plans were launched to restore it back to former glory with funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, £2.3m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a £900,000 contribution from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and a £100,000 contribution from Cadw. As part of the restoration works, Sandtex Trade Eggshell X-tra was specified for the development, where it was used on the doors of the original cubicles, as well as fascias and soffits.
The team from Crown Paints’ Specification Services worked closely with Davies Sutton Architects in Cardiff, to match the colours to the original shades of the 1920s.Speaking about the conservation project, Michael Davies, a Director at Davies Sutton Architects, said: “The basic principle of conservation is to repair first and replace second. So the main method was to see what was there, what had survived and what was serviceable, so we could retain as much of the historic fabric as possible. Clearly there were historic elements which we couldn’t keep and had to replace, but the idea was to keep as much as we possibly could.
“A lot of the buildings were made up of cubicles. We had to carefully survey and mark up every single timber element on the building to see which bits could be saved and which bits couldn’t.”
“It clearly is an impressive project but a lot of that really is down to the fact that it is the original building and we can’t all take credit for that, just the elements restored and the new build elements.”
Sandtex Trade Eggshell X-tra was applied by Mid Glam Decorators, who are based in Williamstown in the Rhondda Valley, just three miles from the Lido.
The project, led by Barrie Williams and Rob Barrett, had between six and eight decorators on site and was carried out in stages over a nine month period.
Rob said: “As jobs go this one is up there as one of the best in our history that we’ve undertaken.
“I used to use the Lido when I was a youngster so it was particularly rewarding to see the restoration take shape. We applied Sandtex Trade Eggshell X-tra in four colours at the site, a dark and lighter green, a blue shade and white. Due to the formulation we were able to use the paint throughout the year, as it was able to cope with the weather conditions in the Rhondda Valley.”