WE MAY have attained phase 3 in our long slog out of lockdown but many attractions, like castles and swimming pools, remain closed.

Open-air pool lidos in England are already open.

If we were back in our former holiday heyday, we could offer a choice of three seaside lidos.

Swimming ‘ponds’ at Port Seton, Dunbar and North Berwick once buzzed with summer sociability in the sun.

For families, they offered entertainment, like galas, diving displays, water polo matches and midnight bathing.

A fortnight’s ‘bucket-and-spade’ seaside holiday drove the popularity of lidos between the wars. Using the tide to drain and refresh their seawater made swimming both safe and healthy.

Dunbar’s began in the 1880s. Ringed by an amphitheatre of grassy slope below Bayswell Road, a simple wall trapped seawater at the top of the tide.

Between 1904 and the 1930s, this was constantly developed into a magnificent 73m by 46m oval lido, with 170 changing cubicles, seating for 300, plus a curved pavilion, boating pond and a seaside promenade.

In the 1960s, Pondmaster Field could survey all this from his front window in St Beys above.

Inspired by Dunbar, Provost John Hall Weatherhead raised £10,000 to open a lido and pond hall at the intersection of Port Seton’s Fishers’ Road and High Street in 1932.

The hall was a full-blown civic centre, with council chamber, library, tea room and one of only three sprung ballroom floors in Britain.

For a town aspiring to ‘The Biarritz of the North’, North Berwick was slow to match Dunbar. Its harbour cross quay included sluices, using seawater ponded behind it to flush out mud.

This became an informal swimming hole, with a changing hut called ‘The Ark’. The town council replaced all this with a proper 53m-long art deco lido, seating over 500, in 1928.

Stern, white-clad figures of Pondmasters McCracken, Lemmon or Kennedy ran a tight ship and frowned on horseplay. To outdo its rivals, in 1961 the pond was heated, with marginal success.

All three suffered from jet holidays to the sun from 1970 on. Dunbar closed and was bulldozed in 1984.

Port Seton, along with its Pond Hall, went the same way in 1994. Despite a local campaign called STOP, North Berwick was last to close, in 1995.

It is now a boat park but cubicles at either end survive as monuments to an era.

You might re-live that era by visiting Stonehaven... once its lido re-opens.