Victoria Baths 12th October 2008
Opening in 1906 Victoria Baths is now a Grade II listed building. It housed many facilities. There was a female swimming pool, a male swimming pool and a premium “1st Class” male swimming pool. Water was heated and pumped into the 1st Class male swimming pool, this same water was then reheated and pumped into the male pool, the same water was then reheated and pumped into the female pool. The women were essentially swimming in 3rd hand recycled water. This was so disgusting that the pool actually held discount days for the female bathers when the water was particularly murky in order to keep numbers up. For 86 years this was the case. Other facilities included Turkish baths, the ability to do laundry and in 1954 the first aeratone in England (a primative form of the first jacuzzi) was installed.
This made Victoria Baths not only an important part of Manchester leisure life but also social life including the main pool being covered over and dances being held on it.
In 1993 the baths were officially closed by Manchester City Council and they began to decay. The Friends of Victoria baths was formed in order to attempt to save the baths and thanks to the BBC’s Restoration programme and lottery funding it is now in the process of being restored to its former glory. Because of this many photographers, films and tv programmes have used areas of the baths and the surrounding building.