The tidal pools represent some of the last standing man made structures that did not come under scrutiny from current health and safety rules. These very rules now affect the existence of the remaining pools. They are under threat from a lack of maintenance, scattered along Britain’s margins whilst being exposed to the harshest of elements.
Britain’s sense of hierarchy over the landscape is evident up to the very edges of our coastline, where the tidal swimming pools are located. Built originally for the enjoyment of newfound leisure time and as a safe haven for swimming away from the dangers of the sea, the structures embody the Victorian and Edwardian periods, acting as a reflection of Great Britain’s strength and power during the reign of the British Empire.
The pools are now spaces where freedom of expression can be celebrated, where people can make choices to act on instinct and common sense, rather than the behavioural constraints dictated upon society. Even these spaces have restrictions, the most prevalent limit being nature. The tide dictates the space, concealing the architecture in a dark mass of water, however the ocean answers to the gravitational pull of the Moon. This natural occurrence still holds a very dominant sense of control over humans and the landscape, dictating the conditions of use, enjoyment and documentation.
‘Time and tide wait for no man’ (Geoffrey Chaucer)