Alternative Uses in WWII

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Alternative Uses for iconic Art Deco buildings

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Midland Hotel - requisitioned by the Royal Air Force to serve as a Hospital

Military Hospital War Personnel

"The Midland Hotel in the Centre of the Promenade was a hospital for all ranks and was used for all Service personnel, even for people coming to see specialists from outlying units of the R.A.F."

Ocean Hotel - requisitioned by the National Fire Service

Fire Brigade at the Ocean Hotel duing the WWII

Company B at the Ocean during WWII

Imperial War Museum

Saltdean Lido - requisitioned by the National Fire Service

After its May 1938 opening, Saltdean Lido enjoyed just three summer seasons before ‘The Battle of Britain’ forced the lido to close its doors. The building went on to play a vital role in the Second World War; in 1941, it was requisitioned by the National Fire Service – who also requisitioned the lido’s sister building, the Ocean Hotel. The lido was used as a water tank, and the grounds were used by instructors and fire officers for training exercises. It was during this period that the lido’s iconic neon-lit art deco sign was taken down and lost. Although the pool was closed to the general public at this time, an alternative role was found for its changing rooms. Sister McLaughlin, from Kemptown, Brighton, petitioned the council to have the Lido’s wings sanctified for religious use. Its male changing rooms were used for church services and the female changing rooms became a Sunday School. Source : Saltdean

Saltdean Lido during WWII

Saltdean Lido played its part during World War II. From October 1941, the National Fire Service used the main pool as a water storage tank and for training exercises. Here, fire officers are receiving instruction at the base of the lido's three
tiered diving boards. - Image and description courtesy & © of Saltdean

Saltdean Lido at War

"Not many people know that Saltdean Lido played a unique role in the Second World War, when it was requisitioned by the National Fire Service as a training facility in 1941! The Fire officers, who attended classes at the Lido’s sister building - the Ocean Hotel, would go onto fight fires all over the U.K in the Blitz (note how the Lido’s famous sign was removed at this time so as as not to serve as a signpost for Hitler’s Luftwaffe)." - image and dialogue sourced from

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Page updated : 11th April 2018