The end of an Edwardian era?
Let me start with a big thank you for the people who made it possible for me to visit these swimmingpools.
This visit was already several weeks ago and when I think back at the time that I entered these magnificent buildings, you can still see that big smile on my face.
Never before I saw such beautiness packed in 1 space.
It is the overwhelming grandness what grabbs you when you see this for the first time. Especially the main pools with the grandeur from more that 100 years back in time.
We visited the two most beautiful remnant pools built at the end of the Edwardian era.
Victoria Baths in Manchester is the first and was completed in 1903.
The day after we visited Moseley Road Baths in Birmingham, wich was completed in 1907.
At that time, money apparently played no role. Both have a steel structure with the typical features of that time.
This feature is also reflected in the masonry, wood and stained glass windows.
However, this splendor is also the biggest problem for the restorers.
Each stained glass window, wooden doors and tiling etc. what needs to be restored, takes a lot of dedication of the volunteers and a lot of money.
For instance…1 single stained glass window costs some 20,000 Pound for restoration.
The wood for the wooden doors, made of a special kind of softwood from Canada, isn’t any longer available today.
And besides the Pools, there are many other things and rooms that needs to be refurbished and restored.
For example, there are private 65 baths present at Moseley Road Baths and a unique system in which your clothes are dried by means of steam (steam-heated drying racks). This is also the best preserved in the entire world.
Altogether there is roughly about 30 million pounds needed per Building to restore everything to its former glory.
The first building (Victoria Baths) consists of 3 pools: Men First Class, Second Class Men and a Lady's pool.
The second building (Moseley Road Baths) contains 2 swimming pools: Men's and Women Pole.
In the Moseley Road Baths you can today still go for a swim in the left part which is accessible to the public audience.
The right part is not accessible and here you still see the authentic style of bygone years.
This section is therefore completely closed and its restoration has yet to begin.
... But time is running out, as the city council in 2016 shall decide whether and when it get restored. And there is a chance that they get a NO-GO for the restauration.
Time is always an enemy for concrete and metal structures. Especially when there are broken windows. A lot of pigeons managed it to get trough these windows and you know what that means to concrete and metal when these birds leave something behind. luckily these windows are sealed now, so this thread is beaten.
Let's hope that this building is getting a high priority on the monumental list, so it does not disappears forever.