Victoria Baths

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Victoria Baths


Victoria Baths, Manchester
Greater Manchester UK location map 2.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Greater Manchester
General information
Town or city Manchester
Country England
Coordinates 53°27′36″N2°12′58″W / 53.46°N 2.216°W / 53.46; -2.216 Coordinates: 53°27′36″N2°12′58″W / 53.46°N 2.216°W / 53.46; -2.216
Completed 1906 (1906)
Cost £59,144 [1]
Client Manchester Corporation
Designations Grade II* listed

Victoria Baths is a Grade II* listed building, [2] in the Chorlton-on-Medlock area of Manchester, in northwest England. The Baths opened to the public in 1906 and cost £59,144 to build. Manchester City Council closed the baths in 1993 and the building was left derelict. A multimillion-pound restoration project began in 2007. As of 2009, the building is on English Heritage's Heritage at Risk Register. [3]

Chorlton-on-Medlock inner city area of Manchester, England

Chorlton-on-Medlock is an inner city area of Manchester, England.

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous built-up area, with a population of 3.2 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.

English Heritage charity responsible for the National Heritage Collection of England

English Heritage is a charity that manages over 400 historic monuments, buildings and places. These include prehistoric sites, medieval castles, Roman forts and country houses. The charity states that it uses these properties to ‘bring the story of England to life for over 10 million people each year’.



Stalls surrounding the main pool in 2011 Victoria Baths Stalls.JPG
Stalls surrounding the main pool in 2011
Stained glass window in the Turkish Baths Victoria Baths Window.JPG
Stained glass window in the Turkish Baths

The baths were designed by the City Surveyor, T. de Courcy Meade, and his assistant, Arthur Davies. The work was supervised by Henry Price, the newly appointed city architect.[ citation needed ] The baths were opened in September 1906 by the Lord Mayor of Manchester who described the building as a "water palace". [4] For 86 years the Baths provided both essential and leisure facilities. Private baths and a laundry were housed there along with three swimming pools and a Turkish bath, later a Sauna was added. The main swimming pool was floored over in the winter months to hold dances. In 1952 the Victoria Baths installed the first public Aeratone (jacuzzi) in the country.

Henry Price (architect) British architect

John Henry Price – more commonly referred to as Henry Price – was the first person to hold the office of 'City Architect' in Manchester Corporation's newly created City Architect's Department of 1902. He was responsible for a number of well known Manchester landmarks, and is credited with influencing the design of other buildings constructed during his tenure, such as Manchester Fire Station.

Laundry process of washing textiles

Laundry refers to the washing of clothing and other textiles. Laundry processes are often done in a room reserved for that purpose; in an individual home this is referred to as a laundry room or utility room. An apartment building or student hall of residence may have a shared laundry facility such as a tvättstuga. A stand-alone business is referred to as a self-service laundry. The material that is being washed, or has been laundered, is also generally referred to as laundry.

In the design and construction of the Baths, a great deal of money was expended, Manchester having at that time one of the world's wealthiest municipal coffers. The façade has multi-coloured brickwork and terracotta decoration, the main interior public spaces are clad in glazed tiles from floor to ceiling and most of the many windows have decorative stained glass.

Architectural terracotta Fired clay construction material

Architectural terracotta refers to a fired mixture of clay and water that can be used in a non-structural, semi-structural, or structural capacity on the exterior or interior of a building. Terracotta is an ancient building material that translates from Latin as "baked earth". It can be unglazed, painted, slip glazed, or glazed. A piece of terracotta is composed of a hollow clay web enclosing a void space or cell. The cell can be installed in compression with mortar or hung with metal anchors. All cells are partially backfilled with mortar.

Stained glass decorative window composed of pieces of coloured glass

The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works created from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant religious buildings. Although traditionally made in flat panels and used as windows, the creations of modern stained glass artists also include three-dimensional structures and sculpture. Modern vernacular usage has often extended the term "stained glass" to include domestic lead light and objects d'art created from foil glasswork exemplified in the famous lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany.

The Baths were closed by Manchester City Council in 1993. [4] The Friends of Victoria Baths was formed and began to investigate the possibility of running the Victoria Baths independently.

Manchester City Council Local government body in England

Manchester City Council is the local government authority for Manchester, a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. It is composed of 96 councillors, three for each of the 32 electoral wards of Manchester. The council is controlled by the Labour Party and led by Sir Richard Leese. The opposition is formed by the Liberal Democrats and led by former Manchester Withington MP John Leech. Joanne Roney is the chief executive. Many of the council's staff are based at Manchester Town Hall.

Various fund-raising attempts failed to bring about a restoration of the Baths, although work to prevent further deterioration of the building started in 1998.


The interior in 2010 Victoria Baths interior, 2010 (4).jpg
The interior in 2010

In September 2003, the Baths won the first series of the BBC's Restoration programme. The building was chosen by a public phone-vote from a short-list of ten buildings in danger of dereliction in the UK. It was awarded £3.4 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the money raised through the phone-voting process. [5] The Prince of Wales visited the baths a month later to help celebrate the win. [6]

Charles, Prince of Wales Son of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom

Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent to the British throne as the eldest child of Queen Elizabeth II. He has been Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay since 1952, and is the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent in British history. He is also the longest-serving Prince of Wales, having held that title since 1958.

It was intended that the money would be spent on re-opening the Turkish bath by around 2006, with other parts following later at a cost of around £15–20m. [7] However, the redevelopment plans were dealt a blow one year later when quantity surveyors delivered a much larger estimate of £6.3m to restore the Turkish baths. The Heritage Lottery Fund requested further details about the full redevelopment before they would hand over any money for the first phase. [8] Final planning approval to begin a restoration process was not received until September 2005.[ citation needed ]

A quantity surveyor (QS) is a construction industry professional with expert knowledge on construction costs and contracts. They are not to be confused with land surveyors or building surveyors.

Planning permission government permission required for construction or expansion

Planning permission or developmental approval refers to the approval needed for construction or expansion in some jurisdictions. It is usually given in the form of a building permit. Generally, the new construction must be inspected during construction and after completion to ensure compliance with national, regional, and local building codes. Planning is also dependent on the site's zone – for example, one cannot obtain permission to build a nightclub in an area where it is inappropriate such as a high-density suburb. Failure to obtain a permit can result in fines, penalties, and demolition of unauthorized construction if it cannot be made to meet code. House building permits, for example, are subject to local housing statutes. The criteria for planning permission are a part of urban planning and construction law, and are usually managed by town planners employed by local governments. Since building permits usually precede outlays for construction, employment, financing and furnishings, they are often used as a leading indicator for developments in other areas of the economy.

In September 2006, as part of a number of events to mark the centenary of the building's opening, the gala pool was filled for the first time in 13 years. [9] [10]

The first phase of restoration work consisting of structural work and repairs began on Monday 19 March 2007, [11] and was completed in September 2008. [12] In 2011 the Baths were used as a filming location, [13] a concert venue, [14] and an exhibition centre. [15] On 16 April 2017, the baths were once again reopened for an invite only acid house dance pool party hosted by Boiler Room; The Warehouse Project; and Fac 51 The Warehouse. This was called "The Other Side of Midnight". The event was also live streamed on YouTube, the video is unlisted.

See also

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  1. History, Victoria Baths, 22 May 2008, retrieved 31 January 2010
  2. Victoria Baths With Attached Forecourt Walls, Heritage Gateway, retrieved 29 March 2012
  3. Heritage At Risk Register 2009 – North West (PDF), English Heritage, 2009, p. 54, retrieved 31 January 2010
  4. 1 2 Baths need £2.5m for restoration, BBC News, 9 August 2004, retrieved 17 November 2010
  5. Baths win £3.4m Restoration final, BBC News, 14 September 2003, retrieved 17 November 2010
  6. Snowdon, Neal (25 October 2003), "Baths get the prince's seal", Manchester Evening News
  7. Ottewell, David (30 December 2003), "Big splash for saved baths may take years", Manchester Evening News
  8. Tapp, Blaise (9 August 2004), "Blow to 'saved' baths", Manchester Evening News
  9. Frame, Don (19 September 2006), "Victoria Baths fills up with water", Manchester Evening News, retrieved 17 November 2010
  10. Rooth, Ben (7 September 2006), "Water way to celebrate baths' 100th birthday", Manchester Evening News, retrieved 17 November 2010
  11. Baths restoration gets under way, BBC News, 19 March 2007, retrieved 17 November 2010
  12. Baths restoration moves forward, BBC News, 17 September 2008, retrieved 17 November 2010
  13. Bourne, Dianne (27 January 2011), "Will Young's spooky new drama Bedlam filmed in Manchester", Manchester Evening News, MEN Media, retrieved 29 March 2012
  14. "Water music: Victoria Baths provide unusual backdrop for concert", Manchester Evening News, MEN Media, 19 May 2011, retrieved 29 March 2012
  15. "Take the plunge: Swimwear exhibtion[sic] at Victoria Baths", Manchester Evening News, MEN Media, 2 April 2011, retrieved 29 March 2012

Further reading