Report - Victoria Baths, Chorlton on Medlock, Manchester September 2011

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Oct 18, 2008
With no expense spared, this imposing baths opened in 1906. Originally there were three pools, Males First Class, Males Second Class and Females. Slipper baths, laundry and a Turkish bath were also provided.
As the town mains water was often discoloured, a borehole was sunk some 700 feet, to provide the water, which first went to fill the Males First Class Pool. After four days this water, by now quite murky, was transferred to the Males Second Class Pool for another two or three days. The only water treatment was sand filtration and as the only requirement was to wash your feet before bathing, it would also have aquired quite a taste, by the time it was finished with.
In 1952, the first public "Aeratone" bath(forunner of the jacussi) in the country was installed and in the 1970's, the Second Class pool was converted into a sports hall. Rising costs and a deteriorating building led to its closure in 1993, but this was not the end.
An action group, Friends of The Victoria Baths was formed and as a charity, has taken on the task of restoring the building, including at least one of the pools being returned to use. Winning the BBC 2's Restoration series provided much needed finance to kickstart the project, which is ongoing. It is now Grade 2* listed.
Visited as part of the English Heritage Open weekend, but got to see the bits that are not on tours.



Males First Class Entrance


Ladies Pool


Ladies cubicles


Former Males Second Class Pool


Males First Class Pool


A striking feature is the amount of Pilkingtons tiles




This corridor ran between the three pools


Relic of the Laundry


Original former gas bracket light


Stained glass everywhere


Turkish Baths, used for the mortuary scene in "Life on Mars"


This room had day beds for cooling down after a roasting


The restored "Wood Nymph" window


There is outside storage tanks, which hold the capacity of a pool. Part of one is visible here


The sand filters for the pool water


When the pressure dropped on the outlet, the sand needed cleaning


The original Lancashire boilers were replaced by two package ones


Remains of the water gauges


Pool side wall and chairs


How apt, when this was made the Irwell was a toilet!

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