Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of HEALTH HYDRO
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Swindon (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SU 14594 84655


SU1484NE MILTON ROAD 1097/6/10016 Swindon 22-AUG-00 Health Hydro


Dispensary and swimming baths, now health hydro. 1891 for the Great Western Railway Medical Fund and designed by J J Smith of Swindon. Built of red brick made by the GWR brickworks with wrought iron framing to the swimming bath roofs, made by the GWR Works, Welsh slate and glazed roofing. The building is a complete block with two storied facades to Faringdon Road and Milton Road and single storey ones to the swimming baths in Chester Street and the back lane. It is built in a restrained Queen Anne style. The main entrance was on Faringdon Road. It is eleven bays wide, 5 : 3 : 3, the centre three bays being set forward with the entrance which has panelled double doors with a rectangular light over and a Bath stone Tuscan surround with a broken pediment on brackets. The entrance originally had a cast iron and glass canopy inscribed SWIMMING BATHS with flanking iron railings. This was probably removed in WWII. This is flanked by cross-framed casement windows and has above it a 3-light one. All the other bays have cross-framed casements and all the windows have elliptical heads with keystones. The walling is s panelled and plastered with a continuous string at first floor level and there are four small pediments at eaves level over bays 2, 4, 7 and 10; that over the entrance bay (7) carries the date 1891. Tall chimney stacks arranged randomly. The Milton Road fa?ade is in similar style and is of sixteen bays, 9 : 7. Bays 2, 4, and 7 are framed and pedimented and have 3-light windows; the rest are 2-light as before. Doorway as before in bay 2, this carries the inscription WASHING & TURKISH BATHS. The right hand seven bays have no pediments. All windows are 2-light ones and there is a doorway in bay 1 as before. The back lane has panelled walling with 2-light windows as before. The Chester Road front has plain walling with buttresses. Continuous clerestorey lighting to the large swimming bath, top lighting to the changing rooms and two tall ventilators to the bath. Interior: The main entrance was the Faringdon Road one with the Dispensary to the left and the Swimming Baths to the right. This entrance is no longer used and the one formerly for the Washing and Turkish Baths in Milton Road is now the only entrance. This leads to a hall lined with yellow and red brick with a light wrought iron roof in five bays with glazing along the ridge. This was the Washing Baths. To the right are the Turkish Baths of 1904 which has a restroom with open king post roof and a surviving marble massage table. The facilities, although in the original spaces, are otherwise modern. Beyond the Washing Baths are the entrances to the Swimming Baths. The large bath has an arched roof with seven wrought iron trusses, the main members very similar to railway lines, which were designed by the GWR Drawing Office and manufactured by the Works. These were largely reconstructed in the 1980's, top and clerestorey lighting. Large arched window at the southern end with four lights and a semi-circular head in five sections. Coloured glass by T Rice of the Works. The northern end has three arches under the gallery and a large plain window above. The galleries and swimming baths are little changed, only the changing cubicles which lined the bath are gone. This was the men's bath (41.5m x 15.2m). The smaller women's bath (18.3m x 15.2m) is also largely intact with five similar ribs to the roof and another 4-light window etc. The rest of the building contains different offices and meeting rooms, which are largely changed and subdivided. Original surviving features include doors, staircases with iron balustrades, tiled corridors and more coloured glass by Rice in the windows looking into the lightwells. History: Erected in 1891 for the Great Western Railway as the GWR Medical Fund Dispensary and Swimming Baths. It was designed by a local architect J J Smith and was constructed from materials largely manufactured by the GWR Works. It was considered one of the most up-to-date facilities of its kind when it was opened and pre-dated Health Centres by some 50 years. On Nationalisation it passed to British Railways (Western Region) and then finally to Swindon Borough Council. It has been very little changed internally and the two Victorian swimming baths survive in almost original condition. Reference: J Cattell and K Falconer, Swindon : The Legacy of a Railway Town, HMSO, London, 1995, pps125-6, 166-9.

Listing NGR: SU1459484655


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Cattel, J, Falconer, K, Swindon: The Legacy of a Railway Town (RCHME), (1995), 125-6 166-


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

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Date: 22 Nov 2007
Reference: IOE01/17097/22
Rights: Copyright IoE Lorna Freeman. Source Historic England Archive
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