Hathersage Road, Manchester, United Kingdom
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Victoria Baths Manchester Reviews
Victoria Baths May 06, 2012
Victoria Baths were built in the Edwardian Era, as a state of the art swimming pool for the people of Manchester. They were known as "Manchester's Water Palace" - coming in at the incredible (for the time) sum of £58000 pounds to build, they cost three times what a swimming pool should have cost.
For the money, there was a first class, second class and women's pool (I know, but it was more than a hundred years ago), a Turkish Baths, sports facilities, and some of the most lavish decoration for any pool anywhere. In its glory days, cross channel swimmers and olympic athletes trained here. The football teams used the Aerofoil (an early but much more effective version of the jacuzzi) to recover from injury, and in winter (this was before proper heating in pools) the pools were closed and dance floors were put in, to hold balls and tea dances. It was a hub of the community until the 1990s.
When the idiot council decided to put all their money into a single pool somewhere else and closed it.
It quickly became a semi-ruin, but the local people did not forget about it, and after a lot of fundraising, taking part in a TV show about restoration projects, and many special events, the building is now open for tourists once a month. Unfortunately, they haven't got the last few million to bring it up to modern standards and fill the pool. But visitors can see all the amazing architecture, and get a feel for what the most lavish pool in Manchester looked like in at its peak.
Whilst I realise that visiting a ruined swimming pool is not everyone's thing, this is a fantastic building and well worth a visit if you're in the area. Open days are the first Sunday of the month, but the pool also hosts special events more often than that. For example, the Royal Northern College of Music uses the unique acoustics in some of their degree shows, and many films have borrowed the space for everything from dance spectaculars to a scene in a prison waiting room.
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