The New Swimming Baths at Crewe 1938

Cheshire East Council Crewe Swimming Pool Flag Lane, Crewe, Cheshire CW2 7QX

The following article appeared in Baths and Bath Engineering Vol. 5. January to December, 1938.

The New Municipal Baths at Crewe…
By the provision of new public baths the Crewe Municipal Corporation have fulfilled a need contemplated some considerable time ago. The scheme had been held up due to financial con­siderations, but eventually a loan sanction was obtained.

The old baths, which were owned by the L.M.S. Railway Co., were closed down in 1936. These comprised plunge, slipper and Turkish baths, and had served the town for some 71 years, being opened in 1866.

The new building is situated in Flag-lane, and it was officially opened by the Mayor, Ald. Frank Bott, M.B.E., on November 6, 1937.

On the ground floor there is an entrance hall approximately 23 ft, by 39 ft. with a central ticket office serving the whole building. On the right and left of the ticket office, access is obtained to the dressing cubicles for men and women respec­tively. There are 71 cubicles for each sex, together with toilet accommodation and dressing rooms for the use of children as occasion requires.
Bath Hall
The bath hall contains two swimming baths, one 100 ft.by 35 ft. with a 9 ft. diving pit, the water depth at the shallow end being 3 ft. 6 in., and the other is a learners’ bath, 35 ft. by 20 ft., graded from 1 ft. 9 in. to 2 ft. deep at the shallow end and 3 ft. to 3 ft. 3 in. at the deep end. The two baths are separated by a promenade, whilst a bathers’ promenade surrounds both. The larger bath is equipped with a diving stage providing a firm running board at 5 m, height. a spring board, international type, at 3 m. height, having a special type adjustable fulcrum preserving the true pitch of the board throughout the whole of the adjust­ment, and a spring board of ordinary type at 2 m. Teak approach ladders are provided to each platform, with double rail tubular steel hand-railing to both sides of platforms and ladders. The spring boards are fitted with the latest type detachable matting. A 1 m. spring board is also fitted as a separate unit having an adjustable fulcrum of portable type. The bath surround is covered with shotfaced adamantine tiles, laid with a fall away from the bath, to avoid pollution. The walls of the bath hall are lined to a height of 6 ft. with glazed tiles, whilst the baths them­selves are lined with faience blocks and fitted with scum channels in the same material. The bath lining consists of large tiles of fireclay faced with a hard feldspathic glaze to form a surface which includes the minimum practicable jointing area. The shade is a cream mottle with racing lines and depth marks in black. Medium green is used for the steps, and also for the band beneath the edge of the curb, which is in Shaw’s non-slip pattern.

Light and ventilation are obtained by the type of roof employed, which is further amplified by side wall casements. The whole of the opening lights in this top light and casements are controlled by electrical gear.

The hall is illuminated by enclosed trough fittings which take four lamps, all switched separ­ately so that at a later date it may be possible to put coloured lamps in these fittings and arrange the whole lighting on dimmers for carnival effect.

The main lighting is coupled up with the underwater floodlights, this latter portion consisting of 12 underwater floodlights (six on each side of the main bath and two in the learners’ bath). This unit consists of a bronze porthole holding an armour plate glass, behind which is a special flood­light housing a horizontal burning line filament 500 watt lamp. The light beam is more of a fan than a flood, the side spread being in the nature of 96 deg., and the vertical spread 6 deg. to 7 deg. Here again provision is made for adding colour mediums in front of these floodlights for gala effects.

The brackets on the side of the baths are made of special Roanoid material which is non hygroscopic, non-inflammable and unbreakable, and these brackets are toned in green to match the remainder of the decorations.

Purification and Sterilisation Plant
The complete purification and sterilisation plant was supplied by Messrs. Kicks, Sutcliffe and Bowden, Ltd., of London. There are four of their patent mechanical wash type filters, each 7 ft. 6 in. internal diameter by 4 ft. deep on the flat. The filters include the patent revolving and rotating agitating gear. Each filter has a super­ficial filtering area of 44 sq. ft. and the filtration rate is 200 gal. per sq. ft. per hour.

The pumping unit comprises a Worthington­-Simpson split casing, ball bearing gunmetal fitted, high efficiency pump, direct coupled to a 12 b.h.p. Crompton Parkinson protected type slip-ring induction motor. On the same bed-plate, and driven by the same motor, is a rotary air com­pressor, capable of delivering 20 cu. ft. of free air per min., supplying this through a special oil filter, to a closed type aerator.

The whole of the suction and delivery piping, for connecting to both baths, is “Everite” asbestos cement pressure piping. The whole of the scum overflow piping, which is connected to the pump­ing unit, consists of copper piping of heavy section.

It is interesting to note that arrangements have been made in connection with this installation. not only for taking the whole of the scum overflow water through the filtration plant and passing this back to the bath, but arrangements have also been made whereby top skimming of the water in both baths may be carried out at any desired time.

On each delivery main is fitted a flow meter which enables adjustment of the volume of the water passed to each bath to be made.

The chemical plant is of the open type constant strength solution chemical apparatus. for inject­ing the chemicals to the suction main by means of the force pumps, which are operated from the main circulating motor, thus making the whole plant entirely automatic. Wallace and Tiernan manual control chlorinator and ammoniator comprise the sterilising equipment.

The capacity of the whole plant is 36,480 gal. of water and a complete circulation of the total content, of both baths takes glare in four hours.

Heating Plant
The boiler house plant has been carried out on Messrs.. Z. D. Berry and Sons, Ltd.’s patented ” Economic system, comprising a battery of two low pressure sectional steam boilers coupled together so that either or both can be used as required, and on a gantry over the boilers are installed three of their patented calorifiers, one for heating the swimming bath water, one for low pressure hot water heating apparatus for the building, and the third for the hot water supplies, these calorifiers being coupled to the boilers so that any one, two or three can be used and are otherwise inter-connected so that the central calorifier can be used in emergency to take the place of either of the other two.

No steam traps, condense pumps or other mechanical contrivances, are required under this system the generation of steam and the return of the condense water to the boilers being governed by natural laws.

A Robot automatic stoker is installed for each boiler, controlled by a pressurestat which varies the rate of feed of fuel and air supplied to each boiler according to the fluctuating load.

The heating of the building generally, is on the low pressure hot water system with pipes and radiators arranged in suitable positions, circulation being accelerated by means of a small direct coupled electrically-driven centrifugal accelerator fixed adjacent to the boiler house.

The hot water supply apparatus is provided with a similar accelerator to ensure hot water being instantly available at every part of the building.

To prevent condensation and down draughts from the roof lights in the main bath hall, low pressure steam anti-condensation pipes are installed and connected to the low pressure steam boilers.

The steam for the Establishment Laundry is generated in a small vertical hand-fired cross tube boiler fixed adjacent to the low pressure steam boilers.

The whole of the engineering plant has been designed with a view to obtaining a maximum efficiency with the greatest simplicity and economy in running costs, the mechanical stokers enabling cheap coal to be used with smokeless combustion and a minimum of attention.

Slipper and Foam Baths
Suites of six slipper baths for women and six far men are situate on either side of the main entrance hall, and four of these baths are fitted with complete Zatafoam equipments of standard design. Adjoining the foam baths are rest rooms, fitted up with couches, for use in connection with the foam baths.

The 12 fireclay slipper baths are equipped with 1 in. quick filling valves, being operated by a loose key from the corridor and ease of access for renewal purposes. The discharge of waste water is also controlled from the corridor by the same key through a special waste valve of large capacity, and arranged so that expansion and contraction, together with simplicity in fixing, is taken care of. The whole of the valves are in chromium plated finish, and manufactured by Messrs. Gummers, Ltd., of Rotherham.

Laundry Plant
The laundry plant, supplied by Messrs. Thomas Bradford and Co., of Manchester, comprises: “Rotary” washing machine, 21 in. self-balancing hydro-extractor, mangle, drying closet, consisting of fire dyad-out drying horses, steam heated, and wash trough.

To facilitate the handling of dirty towels and of supplies of clean towels for issuing to bathers, a lift has been installed communicating between the laundry and the entrance hall.

General
In designing the building, the sloping site -,was taken into consideration and this has resulted in a two-storey building on the south side and a one-storey building on the north side. The rooms on the ground floor on the south side house the filtration plant, laundry plant, staff, etc.

On entering the bath hall all bathers are compelled to pass through footsplash baths. In the ablution roams there are eight foot washing pedestals, in white porcelain, operated by the bather’s heel and haring a small rose suitably placed to spray the foot and ankle. This is a convenient arrangement, as both hands are left free for soaping and washing purposes with the foot at a suitable height. In addition, there are eight overhead showers, each operated by an oval link chain and rubber pull. The valves are of the self-closing type (as in the case of the foot pedestals) with a consequent saving in heated water. The whole of the fittings are in chromium plated finish and manufactured by Messrs. Gummers, Ltd., Rotherham.

The balcony, which is fitted with 179 tip-up chairs, is approached by two staircases leading off the main entrance ball, and is – partly canti­levered over the learners’ bath, thus a view of the major bath is obtained. Furthermore, the balcony is linked up with the café. Lavatory accommodation for this part of the establishment is provided on the mezzannine floor. In a small room adjacent to the cafe is situate the Superintendent’s office.

The dressing rooms are naturally lighted by a series of lantern lights with side opening case­ments for ventilation. The floors of these rooms are laid to falls to drain to channels so as to avoid pollution as far as possible.

As the baths will be patronised regularly by scholars attending the various schools, the building has been so planned that the scholars attending under the supervision of a teacher can gain access direct to the dressing rooms from the outside, thus obviating the necessity of their passing through the main entrance hall. In times of pressure these dressing rooms will be used to relieve the cubicles.

In designing the building, provision has been made for it to be used as a hall in the winter season if it should not be found to be a success as a bathing establishment.

A car park has been provided on. the north side of the building, as also covered accommodation for cycles.

The elevations have been executed in sandfaced multi-coloured brickwork with reconstructed stone dressings. The finishings internally have been designed essentially to fulfill the purpose for which the building has been erected, with the maximum satisfaction, bearing in mind the desirability of making the whole both attractive and pleasing.

The whole of the works have been designed and carried out under the supervision and direction of Mr. Leonard Reeves, Assoc.M.Inst.C.E., F.S.I, borough engineer and surveyor, and architect to the scheme.

Mr. Reeves acknowledges the able assistance rendered to him by Mr. Fred Merrill, M.Eng., Assoc.M.Inst.C.E., deputy borough engineer and surveyor; Mr. H. Knowles, L.P.L.B.A., archi­tectural assistant; Mr. W. H. G. Hassall, clerk of works; and the staff of the borough engineer’s department; Mr. A. D. Hegan, B.Sc., A.M.I.E.E.., borough electrical engineer and his staff in connection with the electrical installation.

Messrs. L. G. Mouchel and partners, Ltd., of London, acted as Consulting Engineers for the reinforced concrete.

Miscellaneous Equipment
The following are details of further equipment supplied for the scheme:­

One Municipal T.I.M. ticket issuing machine was installed by Messrs. Automaticket, Ltd., London.

Browns of Oldham supplied the whole of the Stability brand towels for use in the swimming, slipper and foam baths.

In addition to the floodlighting equipment already referred to the General Electric Co., Ltd., Manchester, supplied two special eight-sided copper lanterns finished green with satin finish panels, which fit on the outside pillars on the main entrance, and in the crush hall there are two fittings with green flashed opal glassware and raindrop panels to match the decorations.

Ironmongery- in general was furnished by Messrs. Lockerbie and Wilkinson (Birmingham), Ltd., Tipton, Staffs, also letters to front elevation, main entrance doors, bronze grilles over these doors, and slipper baths doors fitted with mortise cubicle latches operated by knob from inside and attendant’s key only from outside. The dressing cubicles are fitted with Rim cubicle latch having the same operation as above. Further fittings by this firm included other doors mostly fitted with mortise locks, and bronze furniture with patent spindle fixing, letters (colour blue) of modern design and weather resisting material, and cycle racks.

The ” Stebull ” automatic hair drying machines were installed by Messrs. Stevens and Bullivant, of Birmingham, 3.

Contractors and Sub-contractors
The main contractors for the scheme were Messrs. F. Taylor and Co., Ltd., of Littleborough.

Other sub-contractors and specialists not previously mentioned included : Asphalt, Limmer and Trinidad Lake Asphalt Co., Ltd., Manchester; lining to swimming baths, Shaws Glazed Brick Co., Ltd., Waterside, Darwen, Lanes; floor tiling to footsplash baths, etc., surround to bath hall, J. C. Edwards (Ruabon), Ltd., Ruabon; wall tiling to bath hall, floor tiling to slipper baths, etc., Craven, Dunnill and Co., Ltd., Jackfield, Shrop­shire; terrazzo, Conway and Co., Manchester; rubber flooring, Dunlop Rubber Co., Ltd., Man­chester; glazed fireclay sanitary fittings, The Farnley Iron Co. (Fireclay Works), Ltd., nr. Leeds, Yorks ; diving stage, H. Hunt and Son, Liverpool; Zotofoarn equipment, Soapless Foam, Ltd., London.

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