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Report - Margate Lido and The Vortigern Caves - 5/5/10

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Me and Rooks got slightly lucky here, heading over to Margate for Dreamland we heard that the Lido was open too. Its allways entrigued me since i first heard of it as theres alot more than meets the eye going on down there!

From what i can work out the pool was built on the cliff side incorporating some original caves and smugglers tunnels that go back inland a few hundered meters and link up with another set of caves called the Vortigerns. The lidos tidal pools were filled in with sand at some point but the underground changing rooms still remain intact and are very much simlar to a massive colliery bath house! Above the changing rooms things get strange! You head back into the cliff and up thorough verious tunnels, snakeing your way through the rotten remains of plant rooms and pumping stations, at one point doing a walk of death over a deep tank used to hold flood water from the lower levels. The top few levels of the abandoned area were used as a night club, an 80s as fuck one at that! This part didnt interest me as much but there were still alot of tunnels to explore where people had smashed through old partitions to reveal more bits of cave and strange arched passageways. Probably the weirdest bit of all is the underground harbor which i think was used for peddlos and small boat hire at some point! :crazy

We didnt find the smugglers tunnels to get back the to Vortigern caves but luckly you can access those from the other end and they have a whole lot of history of thier own with thier old murals and weird bricked up tunnels so ive included them too. Some of the stuff thats claimed of them must be myth, they were open as a silly tourist attraction for a while but who knows!


undergroundkent said:
Lidos, which were enclosed sea bathing pools, became increasingly popular as the trend for sea bathing became an ever more sought after pastime of the Victorian era. In the 1920's the Lido at Cliftonville was completed to cater for the popularity of sea bathing. The Lido was built on the existing Clifton Baths Estate, beneath which ran many passageways used by smugglers in previous centuries. The underground complex consisted of bars, cafes and an indoor warm sea water pool with nearby changing facilities. The Lido was hugely popular from it's construction right through to the 1960's. A winter storm in January 1978 which destroyed Margate Pier also wreaked havoc with the Lido, particularly the outdoor pool. Reconstruction work was never even considered, and even today the Lido faces almost certain demolition.
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