Maldon Archive
Keeping the Past Alive

Promenade, Promenade Park, Marine Lake and the Hythe   (1887 - 1984)     

Maldon Marine Lake is a lake situate in the Promenade Park Mill Road, Maldon, a small historic town on the estuary of the River Blackwater in Essex, has been renowned for its promenade park with its salt water lake.

The Promenade Park was created in 1895 and the Marine Lake being formerly opened by Lady Rayleigh of Terling and the Mayor at this time is Alderman Leonard Bentall on Wednesday 21st June 1905 until Sunday 7th September 2003 when unfortunately it was closed for swimming. The attraction being that one could swim, no matter what the state of the tide in the adjacent estuary. 

In 2002 a young father lost his life swimming in the lake when he seems to have collided with a submerged and unseen post that was the base for a warning sign. Ultimately the Maldon District Council was prosecuted by The Health and Safety Executive and on counsels advice pleaded guilty.

The Council's plans to reopen the lake for swimming foundered because they could not afford to satisfy the HSE's condition that 26 life guards should supervise swimming at any one time and the lake should be enclosed by a barrier of at least 2 metres, which some had said would give it aesthetic similarities to that of a prison. It was pointed out that there are many other swimming places in the UK where swimming is permitted without formal supervision. Local people seemed not to understand why there need to be different standards applied in Maldon.

As the plans to reopen the marine lake to swimmers were blocked, Maldon Town Council submitted new plans which involved the creation of an "ornamental lake." This proved incredibly unpopular with local residents and a "Save Maldon Marine Lake" campaign was initiated. However, the council were unwilling to take any further risks with regards to health & safety and therefore decided the lake would benefit the area in the long term.

The new proposals will prohibit people from bathing in the lake. In addition a water-play area and a "Galleon play area" were proposed for the site and are now built.