Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester
The Victoria Baths were designed as a prestigious baths complex by Manchester's first City Architect, Henry Price. They were opened by Manchester Corporation in 1906. There were three swimming pools, 64 wash baths, Turkish and Russian Baths, clubrooms, boilers and calorifiers and a substantial four bedroomed flat for the Superintendent of the Baths and Wash-Houses. No expense was spared in its design and construction. The facade 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. The Baths were built with three distinct sections - Males 1st Class, Males 2nd Class and Females (this was also the order in which the water was recycled for the three pools). Each class of user had their own entrance, swimming pool and slipper (personal bathing) baths. Mixed bathing was introduced with great caution in 1914. By the 1920s mixed bathing sessions were held every Sunday morning in the 1st Class Pool. The 1st Class Pool was designed so that it could be floored over during the winter months and used for dances, concerts and lectures. In 1952 the first municipal aerotone therapeutic bath in England was installed at Victoria Baths (this is what we would now call a jacuzzi). The 2nd Class Pool was floored over and the cublicles removed in the 1980s to create an indoor sports hall. Victoria Baths were closed by Manchester City Council on 13th March 1993 due to the high cost of maintenance and remedial repairs. In the same year the Victoria Baths Trust was formed to save it for public use.