The Baths and Wash House buildings attracted lots of interest and many people were involved in their development. Others invested their lives as employees. Still more laboured in the wash houses or enjoyed these buildings for entertainment, relaxation and sport.

This section of the site is devoted to their stories. If you want to contribute please add your comment or let us know your own story.

Dr Keith Myerscough has researched Joseph Nuttall Champion Swimmer of the World РThe Lightening Merman of Stalybridge  Joey Nuttall .

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6 Responses to “People”

  1. Keely Rolls says:

    Great site! Thank you for sharing.

    My ancestor Joseph Thomas Smith was a resident engineer (with his family) of the Corporation Baths on Thorton Road, Bradford, according to the 1901 census. It also looks as though the baths close a few years later and Joseph becomes a verger. Are you able to clarify what this role was in comparison to the Superintendents? I have not been able to find anything further on this family whilst at the baths. Would you please share your research with me? I have a lovely family photo of them outside what looks like Terraced Housing.

  2. Hi, My Gran Ida Williams worked at Kings Heath Swimming Baths, Institute Road, i have memories of her taking my brother and I there and also of using the bath in the building. I have in the past been able to get contact with someone who remembered her and they had good memories of my gran letting them (the whole family) use the bath. I have no photos of my gran and wondered if any were taken whilst she was working.

  3. Chris Botham says:


    I’m afraid I have more of a question to ask, than memories to share, but here goes!

    I am F R Botham’s grandson and my main memories of him him are from visiting him on holidays with my parents. My father (also somewhat confusingly F R Botham!). They lived for a few years in a bungalow called Sunnyside in a village called Belstone on the northern edge of Dartmoor. On many of the visits we (I think just my father and I) would walk to the top of Cawsand Beacon.

    My recollection of my grandfather is that he managed the Victoria Baths in Manchester (no idea when, though!) and some time later managed the baths in Exeter, and this is where the questions come in.

    I have a feeling that when he retired from the Exeter baths he moved to Belstone and I’m pretty sure that he (and by he I really mean him and my grandmother) then moved into a flat in Regents Park in Exeter. Later they then moved to Tonbridge/Paddock Wood in Kent to be nearer my Aunt, Barbara.

    My grandparents had 4 children, of whom Jean (the youngest) and my father (the oldest I think) were proficient swimmers. Jean moved to Canada and on one of our visits to Belstone she was also there with her 4 children.

    Are you able to shed any light on when he managed the Victoria and the Exeter Baths?


    Chris Botham

    • Your grandfather was General Superintendent of all Baths and Wash Houses in Manchester from 1945 to 1960. The family lived in the flat at the front of the building. You can find a family photo taken in the flat at the above web-page – scroll down to 1952. We have lots of information about the Bothams in our archive, including photos and an audio interview with your aunt Barbara. If you are ever in Manchester, let us know so we can arrange to meet.

      I have attached a photo of your grandfather standing by the gala pool in Victoria Baths. We were sent a scan of this photo by your Aunt Barbara’s daughter Sarah in 2003 which she said was from her uncle Bill (either your father or uncle)

      • David Montgomery says:

        This is interesting, my Dad was the Chairman of the IBRM in the 1980’s, I remember him being delighted to be the youngest person (if I remember rightly) to receive the FR Botham award. It’s interesting to read about the man whom the award was named after !

  4. M Avis says:

    Memories of Hornsey Road Baths and Swimming pool in Islington, London. My parents, sister and myself used these baths up to 1960.
    I used the swimming baths there, and also went there with my junior school class up to l949.

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