(Image: Harry Mole, reproduced with permission)
Haggerston Baths (above) in Hackney, London, are at the centre of a regeneration campaign that will hopefully one day see the historic pool reopen. Others aren’t so lucky, and a decade into the twenty first century, Britain’s beautiful historic swimming pools – built largely in the Edwardian and Art Deco architectural styles – are becoming an increasingly endangered species.
Once a luxury to some and a necessity to many, the public bathhouse was rendered obsolete by modern washing facilities in homes, and councils have sought to replace the grand yet faded facilities with new pools to suit modern tastes. In this article, we’ll explore a selection of Britain’s finest abandoned swimming baths – some on the verge of restoration (like Manchester’s Victoria Baths, above), others overcome by urban decay.
Chadderton Baths, Oldham, Greater Manchester
(Images: Jon Wild, reproduced with permission)
Chadderton’s Art Deco swimming baths are among several important civic buildings in this borough of Oldham. Four-times Olympic swimming champion Henry Taylor once served as attendant at the pool, which opened in 1937 and closed in 2006 after cracks were discovered in the roof. The Chadderton Historical Society has tried unsuccessfully to save the abandoned building, which Oldham Council is reportedly set on demolishing, despite the wishes of Chadderton residents and support from local councillors.