Manchester – Harpurhey Baths

Harpurhey Baths Manchester

Harpurhey Baths was constructed by Manchester City Council at a cost of £39,495 and is located on Rochdale Road Manchester.
It was built during 1909 – 1910 and opened 29th October 1910.

Manchester City Council’s first architect Mr Henry Price designed the building.

The building was listed in 1994 and closed as a public swimming pool in 2001.

The Carnegie United Kingdom Trust Report on Public Baths and Wash-Houses in the United Kingdom By Agnes Campbell B. A. 1918 details the building as having the following:

Three swimming pools:
75ft x 25ft
75ft x 30ft
66ft x 25ft
48 Male Slipper Baths
18 Female Slipper Baths
Public Wash House with 40 stalls

A listing on the Historic England web site (Entry 1270790) shows Harpurhey Baths as being a Grade 2 listed building located on Rochdale Road:

‘Public baths and laundry. 1909-10. Red brick and buff terracotta, slate roofs. Large irregular plan, with entrance / office block at north-west corner, swimming pool to rear of this, and former laundry area to south, with tall chimney. Two-and-a-half storey entrance block in neo-Baroque style, 5 bays, with orange terracotta plinth, buff terracotta pilasters and mutule cornice, the 2nd and 4th bays with keyed round-headed arched doorways, cornices arched over them, and attic storeys with semi-circular open pediments; otherwise, round-headed windows at ground floor (glazing altered), 3-light sashes at 1st floor (except for 1-light sash in centre), and segmental-headed sashes in the 2 attics, all these windows with keyed terracotta surrounds and all the sashes with glazing bars in the upper leaves only. Hipped roof and side-wall chimneys with terracotta bands. Left return wall in similar but simpler style, linked by 3 short lower sections to gable end of swimming hall, which has glazed roof louvre. Interior: much original fitting and decoration in Art Nouveau style, including glazed tiling to entrance hall and staircase, copper commemoration plaque, galleried swimming pool hall with plunge-bath cubicles on gallery, most with original stained glass panels and some with original baths.’

An interesting video showing Harpurhey Baths after it was closed can be viewed below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDvM0s9sJ9k

Harpurhey Baths Manchester Public Wash House Mangling & Ironing Room

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One Response to “Manchester – Harpurhey Baths”

  1. Carl Evans says:

    I remember swimming at Harpurhey Baths every Saturday morning during the late 1960’s and being coached by Brian Evitts who was employed by Manchester City Council as a swimming teacher in the Education Department. I understand that Brian went on to found Pioneer 79 at Hynburn Sport Centre in 1979.

    In 1971 I was employed at the age of 17 at Harpurhey Baths in my first job as a lifeguard. At that time I recall the area manager being Mr Walter Yeomans who lived in the flat above the swimming baths with his wife and family.

    There were two supervisors Charlie and Brian Healey and several lifeguards; Terry, Jessie and Alf.

    During that same summer another lifeguard joined us for a time, David Seaman. David was an interesting character and later I saw him being interviewed on a news report during which he claimed to be a member of the British Army. Unfortunately David had been a psychiatric patient and lived a fantasy life. He subsequently decided to go to Norther Ireland and he was found dead allegedly shot by the IRA.

    I recall a happy summer at Harpurhey Baths where duties included; lifeguarding, wash bath attendant, cleaning the numerous brasses, mopping floors, scrubbing the pool sides and skimming the pools with a hose pipe to remove the accumulated scum from the surface. Later in my employment I went on to be an assistant area manager with an office at Harpurhey Baths.

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