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Report - Heath Town Baths - Sept 2011

Discussion in 'Leisure Sites' started by Gh0sT, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. Gh0sT

    Gh0sT 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    Visited with the invisableman

    It was a pleasant early morning explore with this being the 1st of three sites. No real drama's to report - except the access which was funny to say the least.
    It always saddens me to see such a building steeped in history left to rot and fall apart - as you will read in the history, Heath Town baths had a really successful swimming team, and they won many prestigious awards, trophys etc.

    History

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    Heath Town Baths "municipal modernism" constitutes the Heath Town building's immediate claim to local architectural fame. Its claim on national recognition lies elsewhere: it may have a significant place in the developing use of the elliptical concrete arch in swimming bath construction. This appeared about the end of the First War, and early instances are considered unexciting (Saint 1991, 8); for example Croydon baths, of 1926, despite the prominent concrete ribs, has conventional ceiling panels, and limited top and side lighting. A new impetus to concrete design was given by the striking Royal Horticultural Hall of 1927-8, with its stepped tiers and multiple clerestories; this aroused much interest, and one result was "a little rash of elliptically arched British municipal pools in the early 1930s" (Saint 1991, 10). Generally held to be the first was Poplar baths, commissioned from the Borough Engineer in 1929, but delayed by the national economic crisis, and not completed till 1934 (Saint 1991, 10) - that is some two years after Heath Town. The arch and clerestory design is strikingly reminiscent of the Royal Horticultural Hall, and more elaborate than Heath Town's .

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    "A branch establishment in Tudor Road, Heath Town was opened on Friday, 16th December 1932, and the cost of the buildings, exclusive of boilers, purification plant and hot water work was £33,764.

    This establishment includes a Main Swimming Bath, 75 feet by 34 feet containing 85,000 gallons of water, and a special Children’s Swimming Bath 40 feet by 25 feet with water depths ranging from three feet three inches to three feet and contains 20,000 gallons of water.

    On the South side of the building is a Public Wash-house, comprising fifteen washing stalls for hand washing, four rotary washing machines, three electrically operated hydro-extractors, and twenty one drying horses.

    All water is softened to effect the greatest economy in the use of soap."

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    The International Team
    In 1948 a team from the swimming club took part in an international competition at Tilberg in Holland. Bill Edwards on the far right, won a gold medallion in the 200m breast stroke. Several other team members gained second and third places in their events.

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    More History can be found here http://www.localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk/articles/Swimming/SwimmingClub.htm

    Pictures as of Sept 2011

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    Thanks for Looking :)




     

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