Residing alongside the River Thames in Reading is the site of the King’s Meadow swimming pool. It originally opened in 1902 as the Ladies Swimming Baths and is the oldest outdoor public pool from the early Edwardian era in existence. 40 years after its closing in 1974, ARDEX products were used to modernise the pool facilities, while retaining its original character.


A thorough process was followed from start to finish. In an initial site visit, the ARDEX UK team determined the requirements of the works, including any product performance attributes that would assist the contractors. From this, a detailed product and application specification, recommending a specialist swimming pool tiling system with fast drying properties to assist with the exterior working conditions, was produced:

  • ARDEX A 38 Ultra Rapid Drying Internal and External Screed Cement
  • ARDEX AM 100 Rapid Hardening One Coat Tiling Render
  • ARDEX S 7 PLUS Flexible Waterproof Coating for Swimming Pools
  • ARDEX MICROTEC X 77 Flexible Wall and Floor Tile Adhesive, ARDEX S 21 Rapid Hardening Floor Tile Bedding Mortar
  • ARDEX-FLEX FL Rapid Setting Flexible Tile Grout

Following any ARDEX specification, training and demonstrations are available to fixers to ensure they are familiarised with the products before starting the works. And throughout the project, and after its completion, regular site visits ensure the application went as planned and any queries are addressed.

For the client, the quality of finish was their most important priority, and the combination of the products specified, support provided at all stages of the project and technical capabilities of the contractors, meant the swimming pool was finished to their high standards. In addition, although speed wasn’t a leading factor for the contractors, the fast-drying properties of the tiling system not only meant the works weren’t as susceptible to the adverse effects of weather in the exterior working conditions, but also kept the entire project moving along at a pace acceptable to the customer.

The new site opened in 2017 as the Thames Lido, and incorporates a new swimming pool, spa, restaurant, bar and event space; and importantly, whilst the facilities have been completely modernised, the design itself has retained the appearance and theme of the old building. The main attraction of the site its 25m outdoor heated swimming pool, which was built inside the existing pool shell to carry the original shape and features through to the new design; this method also prevented damage to the building’s foundations, which could have been destroyed if the existing pool was removed.

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