Friday, 20 November 2009

Victoria Baths - Manchester's Water Palace

Another swimless week. My cold flared up again and now I have earache. Unlike the waterlogged UK, my dry spell will continue for a bit longer, I think. Anyway, swotting up on women Channel swimmers has been a fascinating swimming substitute! 

In an earlier post I mentioned the Victoria Baths, where Sunny Lowry used to swim

This amazing amenity was opened in 1906. It was a hub in the local community, with a first class mens' gala pool

second class men's pool, ladies' pool

as well as Turkish baths

and bathing and laundry facilities. 
Despite desperate efforts, it was shut down in 1993. 

In 2003, the Victoria Baths' fortune changed - they featured in a reality TV show: Restoration. Out of a selection of deserving but doomed buildings, Manchester's Water Palace stole the hearts of TV viewers, who voted to give it a new lease of life. It received a grant of £3million which was the cash injection needed to get it on the road to recovery. 
The plan is that the gala pool and Turkish baths should re-open to the public. Other areas of the building will be available for exhibitions and functions. 

There isn't a happy ending yet. The actual total needed for the whole project is £20million, so there's still a way to go and the baths aren't useable, although they're open regularly for the public to come and see for themselves the progress as it happens. 

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