Manchester – New Islington Baths

Manchester City Council purchased the Mayfield and Leaf Street Baths from the Manchester and Salford Baths and Laundries Company in 1877.

The Baths & Wash Houses Committee subsequently decided to obtain a site in Ancoats for the construction of a new baths establishment.

This was to become the first Municipal Bathing Establishment erected by the Baths & Wash Houses Committee of the City of Manchester.

A plot of land was purchased for the sum of £7,431 and 2 shillings. This site was bounded by New Islington, Baker Street, Horn Street and the passage at the back of houses in Pott Street.

The area of the site was 2,246 5/9th square yards.

The new building was to include the following:

Males 1st Class Swimming Bath – 90ft x 30ft varied in depth from 3ft to 5ft 6ins. 56 dressing boxes were arranged around the side of the bath.

18 Private porcelain Wash Baths were provided on the gallery above the Swimming Bath with divisions made of enamelled slate.

Males 2nd Class Swimming Bath – 109ft x 30ft with 82 dressing boxes.
36 Private Baths were provided on the gallery

Small Female Swimming Pond 44ft x 14ft

Waiting Rooms for each set of Baths

18 Private Wash Baths for Females with waiting room

Wash House with 20 Stalls

Central Wash House and Laundry for the establishments own washing of towels

Superintendent’s residence

Engine and Boiler House

Engineers Work Shop

In addition two Public Halls were included one at ground floor and the second built above this on the first floor.

The memorial stone was laid 14th December 1878 by Councillor Thomas Bright who was the first chairman of the Baths & Wash Houses Committee.
The building was opened 1st May 1880 by Alderman Patteson, Mayor of Manchester.

Management of the two Public Halls were transferred to the Town Hall Committee in 1911.

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3 Responses to “Manchester – New Islington Baths”

  1. robert burton says:

    I remember comming here once a week with my brothers. We lived on George leigh street. The weekly routine was my mam with one of those coach built prams loaded to the top with the weekly washing, making here way through the streets to New Issy wash house. We went into swim while mam did the weekly wash. Going into the wash house after the swim was scary to get some money for sweets- Big women with a “fag” dangling from there mouths and head scarves would give you a row. All good humoured. It was a great meeting house for the local mothers. A lot of the time we went into the baths and straight out again and played on the canal and the derelict houses. Are kid fell in the canal one time and nearly drowned, mam couldn’t understand how he could not swim after 2 years of going to the baths!!Tough but happy days

  2. New Isinglington Baths Manchester.
    Memories !
    I lived in Ancoats from 1958 to 1968 and as a young boy went to New Isinglinton baths on many occasion. I learnt to swin at the baths not through lessons but following what my elder brother and his friends were doing. We would go to the baths at least twice a week and more often in the school holidays. Interesting to see the photos of the baths and while I remember the changing rooms either side of the poo, but can’t remember what we did with out belongings once we had changed.

    For any one who would have used the pool in the mid 50s to the early 60s will remember Polish Joe the pool side attendant. Famous for his reminder to all of washy washy before entering the pool.
    I think once you had swum a length of the pool unaided you were awarded a free pass to use the baths.

    • Lorraine Bancroft O’Neill says:

      I remember well both the clinic at New Islington and the swimming baths
      The clinic dealt with warts varuccas and you would often see kids who had purple or orange heads after being treated for head lice. No respect for feelings back then 🙁
      The pool had hot tubs which we would all try to cram in as the pool was freezing Quite often we shared it with cockroaches Polish Joe would fish them out with a huge net and say” Smacky bum bum “ if we didn’t get out when told to 🙂
      Happy days back then. We had to wear swimming caps which were very tight and uncomfortable. I earned to swim just using white floats no instructors Did 25 Metres known as The length and I got a free pass as Frank said previously !!

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