Edinburgh’s Infirmary Street Baths Transformed into Dovecot Studios

dovecot-studios-infirmary-street-baths-swimming-pool (Image: Chris Scott, cc-3.0)

The internal balconies, pillars and ceiling supports – grand in a functional way – boast all the hallmarks of a former Victorian swimming pool. And that’s because the Edinburgh building that now houses Dovecot Studios originally opened in 1887 – as the Infirmary Street Baths.

dovecot-studios-infirmary-street-baths-2 (Images: Mark Hogan (website: Markhogan.com), cc-nc-sa-3.0)

At a time when bathrooms weren’t common in working class homes, the bathhouse offered people a place to swim and, more importantly, wash, helping fend off cholera and other infectious diseases. Infirmary Street Baths remained in use until 1995, before lying derelict for more than a decade.

dovecot-studios-infirmary-street-baths-3 (Image: Chris Scott, cc-3.0)

Dovecot Studios was originally founded in 1912, when the fourth Marquess of Bute created a tapestry studio in Corstorphine. The venture regularly employed the work of high calibre artists, but looked set to close by the turn of the millennium.


dovecot-studios-infirmary-street-baths (Images: Google Street View; Boon Low (Twitter), cc-nd-3.0)

Thankfully, Alastair and Elizabeth Salvesen (of transport and logistics company Christian Salvesen) stepped in, funding an £8 million transformation, undertaken by Malcolm Fraser Architects, and Dovecot Studios moved into the old Infirmary Street Baths in August 2008.


dovecot-studios-infirmary-street-baths-5 (Images: Chris Scott, cc-3.0)

At entrance level are arts, crafts and design exhibitions, while the former swimming pool has been converted into a large weaving studio. This excellent example of adaptive reuse makes a refreshing change from bathhouses featured in Britain’s 10 Most Beautiful Abandoned Swimming Pools.

Keep reading – check out our Brief Introduction to Adaptive Reuse, and browse our adaptive reuse tag here.


About the author: Tom


Website: https://www.urbanghostsmedia.com



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