City Baths: Abandoned Swimming Pool in Durham

durham-city-baths-and-washhouses (All images by Richboxfrenzy)

When it opened on September 18, 1932, the Durham City Baths and Washhouses replaced an earlier peat-floored swimming pool that had a habit of turning the water a murky brown. And with a main pool measuring 75 feet by 30 feet, the modern complex was large enough to be used for competitions by the Amateur Swimming Association.


A central ticket office separated different entrances for men and women, while a system that diverted heat from the pool to hot drying rooms enabled women to supplement meager household incomes by washing and drying swimmer’s clothes.


Elaborate plaster decorations on the arch-ribbed roof included bulrushes and water lilies. Sandstone columns in the form of lotus buds supported the balcony at either end of the pool, while wrought iron railings boasted decorative seahorses and dolphins.


Extensively documented on UK urban exploration forums, including 28 Days Later and, the Durham City Baths and Washhouses finally closed in July 2008. Quickly overtaken by urban decay, the abandoned swimming pool was set to be demolished to make way for a housing development. But these plans fell through due to the recession, leaving the building to fall into complete dereliction.


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