Tarlair is a unique triple pool structure comprising paddling pool, boating pool, swimming pool and pavilion/ tea-room. The wave replenished pools were one of the first such Art deco structures to be built.
The structures are set in a spectacular bay to the east of Macduff in Aberdeenshire. The lido is a much-loved community asset and has a place in the hearts of the community and others who have visited it.
The pools closed in 1995, and although worthy attempts have been made to maintain the structures, it could not halt the harm caused by waves and weather.
The reality was that the structures may be lost to the elements without substantial repairs.
A Save Tarlair Group were formed in 2012 after a public consultation meeting. There was strenuous support to see this heritage asset saved for the good of the people.
Discussions thereafter were based on the feasibility of the site when restored, but consultants hired by the authorities to take a plan forward did not bear fruit.
In 2013 the authorities brought in a well-respected Conservation and Design engineer, John Addison of Addison Conservation and Design. His infectious enthusiasm took the project through to seeing the Lido restored to Phase 1 of his 3 Phase Conservation Plan.
The repairs included restoration of the paddling pool, boating pool and terraces. £300,000 was allocated by the council for this work. Covenburn Contactors from Ayr completed the excellent conservation repairs in Dec. 2015
The repairs greatly enhanced the appearance of the place, and made the area safe for walking, relaxation and the sailing of model boats. The public returned to enjoy the ambience of the area, but with no facilities their stay is limited.
The authorities employed Addison Conservation and Design to create the detailed Restoration and Repairs document for the Pavilion/Old tearoom Block to allow Phase 2 of the project to move forward.
The authorities had no finances available, so progress stalled.
The Friends of Tarlair Community Group, SCO45727 (established 2014) produced a Business Plan, and used the Community Asset route to gain a 99-year lease. The lease will allow us to fundraise for the completion of Phase 2 and 3 of the Conservation Plan.
We gained the Lease in 2020, and continue to work hard to raise the necessary funds, with our target sum being £915,000.
Most recently we have appointed Studio Octopi in partnership with Heritage Architecture to assist with the restoration of the Pavilion at Tarlair Outdoor Pool thanks to funding assistance secured from Aberdeenshire Council’s Macduff Vision and Action Plan. Friends of Tarlair unanimously chose Studio Octopi and Heritage Architecture plus their team of Scottish Consultants for their clarity of thought, enthusiasm for outdoor swimming and experience with other pools and heritage across the UK. The duos work with Save Grange Lido Community Group was felt to be directly relevant to Tarlair’s restoration. In addition to this we are grateful for the support of Aberdeenshire Council who have provided the assistance to get this project moving. The project programme includes a planning and listed building consent application in November 2021 with tender and construction commencing during 2022 once the full funding package is secured.
Our thoughts and respect go to Conservation Architect John Addison of Addison Conservation and Design who produced a document in 2014 explaining how best to proceed with repairs in order to protect the whole site’s A-listing. We are over the moon about this, and look forward to working with Chris and his team.