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A lido for lawyers: Crowdfunding bid launched to create floating swimming pool opposite Temple

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As criminal bar struggles to stay afloat, £10 million plan unveiled to build epic bathing facilities in Inns of Court section of River Thames

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While the legal challenge of the proposed “garden bridge” between London’s Temple and South Bank rumbles on to judicial review, a flamboyant new project in the same stretch of the Thames is looking for backers.

Introducing ‘Thames Baths’ (pictured below in artists’ impression form), a “new, beautiful lido for the River Thames” which — if it can haul in the required £5.5 million in funding — would see a swimming pool plonked into the river opposite the Inns of Court. With the project apparently only taking six months to build, this could happen soon.

The lido for lawyers, as it will inevitably be dubbed, is the brainchild of London architects StudioOctopi, who have a dream of “swimming amongst the reads, with tantalising framed views of the City beyond”.

Such pretentious musings will do little to dampen fears that the proposed pool is an example of boom-town London hubris where elitist fantasies are indulged while cut-ravaged areas like legal aid are ignored. Of course, it could equally be argued that the mooted facility is a logical reaction to the improved water quality of the Thames that will help hard-working top QCs relax.

Either way, there is clearly enthusiasm for the idea, with a Kickstarter page that StudioOctopi launched last month already raising £28,227 towards an initial funding goal of £125,000.

The organisers say that they need at least this amount by Friday May 22 to get access to the real megabucks required to realise their aquatic vision.

Founder Chris Romer-Lee told Legal Cheek that while the planned pool “is definitely a ‘lido for lawyers’” it will also be “a community resource which will be managed by Thames Baths community interest company [through which] we will be able to apply for grants to pay for schools to use the baths, for example”.

You can donate to the project here.

Or, alternatively, you could give your money to an organisation like the London Legal Support Trust which raises money for free legal services for people who can’t afford them.

2 Comments

Ann Onymous

The London Triathlon (which features swimming in the Thames) requires mandatory wearing of wet suits – unusually for triathlons which is normally temperature dependent. I guess this is due to Weil’s disease and all the other (literal) crap that is in the Thames. Not sure that the plan of a Thames Lido has really factored this in,

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Rolanne Rat

Wetsuits unusual for triathlons in the UK? Definitely not: it is quite rare (due to the water temperature) that they are not mandatory or at least optional. Indeed in the occasional event they have to be worn as a condition of the Risk Assessment for the event. The reason for their use is temperature alone. If you think about it, Weil’s disease and the other nasties have the best opportunity to enter your body via your mouth (face in the water front crawl and all that.)
People swim in open water everywhere. I’m surprised there haven’t been more jokes about contamination…

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