On the 28th of September, 1932, the Durham City Baths and Washhouses was opened. In attendance were several prominent divers and swimmers. It replaced an open air peat-floored pool, which gave the water a brown colour. The heat from the pool itself was diverted into hot drying rooms, which were operated by women who washed and dried the clothes of swimmers to supplement a meager income.

Separate entrances were provided for men and women, with a ticket office between. The larger pool measured 75ft by 30ft, big enough to be accepted by the Amateur Swimming Association for competitive meetings. The hall was enhanced with plaster decoration of bulrushes and water lilies on the arch-ribbed roof. The balcony was supported by a pair of sandstone columns in the form of lotus buds, at either end of the pool. Wrought iron railings around the balcony contained seahorse, dolphin and waterspout designs.

The pool was closed in 2008. It is not a listed building and was due to be demolished and replaced with homes, offices and a restaurant at Elvet Waterside, but this fell through due to the recession.