Thursday, 21 March 2013

Victoria Baths

In this post I mentioned that the vintage fair we visited last weekend was held at Victoria Baths in Manchester. 

For those of you who watched Restoration, the series about historic buildings needing cash to save them, you'll remember that the baths won a Heritage Lottery Fund of £3 million. After lots of bureaucracy and discussion they finally started spending the money five years ago.

I'd always wanted to visit and was stunned to find that it was a short walk from the University where I worked for so long. Oops.

Anyway, we went on a bright day and it was pretty impressive from the front. It also looked as though the roof was new - a good thing presumably if you're trying to stem any damage caused by the weather.

It's always interesting to see old municipal buildings and marvel at how beautiful they were. Those from the Victorian and Edwardian eras have so many decorative details - there was none of the utilitarian aesthetic we have now (for some reason, half of the time I was wandering around mentally comparing the baths with the concrete and plastic interior of the Brittas Empire's sports centre).

It was absolutely freezing in there despite the fact that it was teeming with visitors. Looking upwards you could see that some sections of the huge decorative windows were missing, leaving the building open to the elements in places.

Anyway, here are some pictures:

I didn't actually read what this was (although it looks like a giant food mixer).

Some of the leaded windows depicting various sports.

Details of mosaic flooring in one of the entrances.

The changing cubicles look like they belong at the seaside.

There's a lot of restoration work to be done (although I quite like the effect of rusting and layers).

There are three pools in total. I'm not sure which one featured in Prime Suspect...

You could go up the stairs for a better view of the pools.

Edwardian ladies looking nymph-like.

It might be cold now but the building must have been warm and steamy once...

Someone enjoyed their visit.

If you're ever in the universities area of Manchester it's well worth a visit. But unless there's a heatwave you might want to wrap up warm. And if you need any recommendations on where to go for food and drink feel free to ask me!


  1. I only know the interior of the Baths from photographs, but it's an incredible place isn't it! Lovely pics, especially the one of Joe looking cute!

  2. Thanks - just had to go in and edit as one of the pics had moved, grr... it is lovely in the baths. It's a huge, rabbit's warren of building too and exploring with a pram wasn't ideal. Maybe we'll go back once Joe's a bit bigger. He might even get to paddle if they ever reopen the pools :)


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