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Report - Chadderton Baths - Oldham - Sept 2013

Discussion in 'Leisure Sites' started by The Lone Ranger, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    Chadderton Baths - Oldham

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    History

    The Art Nouveau Chadderton Baths was a public swimming facility opened in 1937. Henry Taylor, the British Olympic freestyle swimming triple gold medalist and champion was an attendant at Chadderton Baths where many of his awards were displayed. Chadderton Baths were closed indefinitely in 2006 after a structural survey found faults which could have put the public at risk. Chadderton Sports Centre, built onto the Baths, was closed and replaced by the Chadderton Wellbeing Centre in January 2010. An application to demolish the Baths was made in March 2011.

    The Chadderton Historical Society has tried unsuccessfully to save the abandoned building, which Oldham Council is reportedly set on demolishing, despite the wishes of Chadderton residents and support from local councilors.

    A bit about Henry Taylor

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    He was one of Britain's greatest ever Olympians. Yet swimmer Henry Taylor was so poor he could only afford to swim in the old Chadderton Baths on “dirty water dayâ€, when the entrance fee was reduced.

    Henry was born on Maple Street in Hollinwood on 17 March 1885 to James - a coalminer - and Elizabeth. His life begins in tragedy as he lost both his parents at an early age, the orphaned Henry being brought up instead by his elder brother, Bill.

    In stark contrast to the Olympians of today, Henry learnt to swim in Hollinwood Canal before going to Oldham Baths, where at the age of seven, he tasted his first victory, beating some older boys in a two length race.

    Young Henry loved swimming, changing Oldham for his local Chadderton Baths (now demolished) when they opened in 1894, though he still regularly swam in the canal. Indeed, when he began working in a cotton mill, he would spend his lunchtimes swimming the waterway.

    He was the star of the Chadderton Swimming Club and at the age of 21, his success got him noticed nationally, when he was selected for the Intercalated Games in Athens in 1906 – an unofficial multi-sports event, held to mark the tenth anniversary of the first Modern Olympics, which saw athletes from all over the world take part.

    And, far from the full-time dedicated sportsmen and women of today, the man who won three gold medals at the 1908 London Olympics trained in his lunch break, swimming in the reservoir near the Oldham mill where he worked full-time as a piecer. In the evenings, Taylor could be seen dodging the pleasure boats, ploughing up and down the Alexandra Park boating lake.

    Taylor won gold, silver and bronze medals at the 1906 Interim Olympic Games in Athens in 1906, a bronze at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, and a bronze at Antwerp in 1920. But it was at London in 1908 that he fixed his place in sporting posterity, his tally of three golds in one games going unmatched by any Briton for a century until Chris Hoy in Beijing.

    My Visit

    Sod Sunday strolls, the future is Sunday swims.

    Visited with Ojay and for once no major mishaps; the exception being a flock of pigeons who decided to empty their bowels all over Ojay, I didn't laugh honest :D.

    I have wanted to look inside here for a fair bit, and have wandered around the exterior a few times over the years. I think the exterior is fairly ugly, but it conceals a very grand interior. Alas it isn't grand enough for English Heritage to deem it worthy of protection, and as with many of Oldham's grand old buildings it will probably be reduced to a pile of rubble.

    Report

    Once inside you soon find what you have for, the fabulous pool with the arched roof.

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    The diving boards were stripped out when they refurnished the building and installed stairs up to the changing rooms above.

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    The roof is the main feature of this building and what lead to its closure when cracks were found in the concrete beams.

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    The shallow the pool is located near the reception and main entrance to the building.

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    Around the edge of the pool are the old tiled entrances and various signs.

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    I use to hate these types of lockers, no chance of finding a 20 pence that somebody had forgotten to remove and recycle in the sweet vending machine.

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    At the front of the building are a couple of stair wells leading to the reception and various administration offices.

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    The stairs take you back to the upper balcony and the best view of the pool.

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    While in there it would have been rude not to have a look at the boiler house.

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    Finishing off the stroll with a visit to the adjacent sports hall.

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    Well that's it, an enjoyable Sunday stroll around this grand building.

    Cheers,

    TLR.​
     
    #1 The Lone Ranger, Sep 15, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015

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