Salford – The Adelphi Swimming Baths, Reservoir Terrace 1835 – 1858

Researched and Authored by Carl Evans and Keith Myerscough

Last Update 13th January 2022

Writers and Contributors | Baths and Wash Houses Historical Archive

The Adelphi Swimming Baths, Reservoir Terrace
‘Salford’s First Public Swimming Baths’ (1835 – 1858)

Introduction

During January 2021 news services presented a story about the archaeological excavation of Mayfield Baths in Manchester. This establishment was the second to be built by the Manchester and Salford Baths and Laundries Company and was opened 24th June 1857. The company opened its first building, Greengate Baths, Salford in 1855 and a third followed, Leaf Street Baths, Manchester in 1860.

The excavation of Mayfield Baths came about due to the creation of Manchester’s first new public park in 100 years. A team of Archaeologists from Salford Archaeology undertook the excavation.

Not far away from the Peel Building that accommodates Salford Archaeology is a, presently unexplored, site that may be of equal significance to the history of Swimming Baths in Salford. At the junction of Peru Street and North George Street is a car park. This is the location of what was an impressive establishment that brought swimming opportunities to the people of Salford for over 20 years during the 1800’s.

Mr. Thomas Bury & Salford’s First Public Swimming Baths

Salford’s first Public Swimming Baths was built by Mr. Thomas Bury Snr (1785 – 1836)[1] and opened 29th July 1835[2]. Mr. Bury is described in Probate Records as being a ‘dyer and calico printer’. He was also a successful business and property owner. Mr Bury had built Adelphi House, near The Crescent, in Salford in the early 1800’s to become his family home for himself, his wife Elizabeth and their thirteen children. The house contained entertaining rooms, sleeping apartments, servant’s offices, closets and extensive garden extending to the river Irwell all suitable for a large family.[3] Over time the area around Adelphi House became increasingly industrialised and so the family moved from this accommodation to Timperley Lodge in Cheshire where Mr Bury died in 1836.

A Forgotten Public Swimming Baths

An article by Geo. H. Hutchinson[4] entitled; A Brief History of the Baths Department of the City of Salford, published in 1952 suggested that the establishment was of little significance and the first Public Swimming Baths in Salford had generally been forgotten.

‘The history of public bathing in Salford can be traced back to the year 1835, when an attempt was made to establish a public baths in Peru Street. This does not appear to have been very successful…’

However, there remained intriguing references on maps and in published and unpublished work sufficient to inspire further research.

The Ordnance Survey Manchester & Salford Sheet 22 published 1848, 1850 provides a detailed view of the layout of the building.

Fig.1 Ordnance Survey Manchester and Salford Sheet 22 Scale 1.1056 1848, 1850 showing the internal layout of the Adelphi Swimming Baths

References appear in published and unpublished works.

For example; Mr. Albert Teasdale[5], writing in 1945 whilst holding the office of General Superintendent of Manchester Corporation’s Baths and Wash Houses Department, provides brief details of the establishment in his unpublished work.

References published in directories are detailed below.

Publication

Listing

Timperley, Charles Henry. Annals of Manchester Biographical, Historical, Ecclesiastical and Commercial from the earliest period to the close of the year 1839 p.93

Adelphi Swimming Baths Salford opened July 29th 1835

Drake, James. Drake’s Road Book of the Grand Junction Railway 1837 p.134

Adelphi Swimming Baths, Reservoir Terrace, Salford

Freeling, Arthur. Freeling’s Grand Junction Railway Companion to Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham 1838 p.166

The Adelphi Swimming Baths, Reservoir Terrance, Salford, are of a very superior description.

Coghlan, Frances. The Iron Road Book and Railway Companion from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool 1838 p.146

The Adelphi Swimming Baths, Reservoir Terrace, Salford.

Slater, Isaac. Slater’s General and Classified Directory and Street Register of Manchester and Salford and their Vicinities 1850 p. 8

Adelphi Swimming Baths, Adelphi Salford (Executors of Thomas Bury)

Research, using the ‘The British Newspaper Archive’, provides evidence that the Adelphi Swimming Baths operated from 1835 to 1858, a period of twenty-four years, was successful and its significance overlooked.

Other Manchester & Salford Baths Establishments of the 1800’s

The significance of the Adelphi Swimming Baths can be placed into context by considering it alongside the other public baths establishments that were opened in Manchester and Salford during the 1800’s. Also of relevance is the date of Incorporation by Royal Charter of the Manchester and Salford Baths and Laundries Company (MSBLC) in 1855. In addition to the major establishments listed below there were other commercial operators of Therapeutic and Warm Wash Baths facilities in the area such as Whalley’s Baths that operated two establishments Manchester and one in Salford.

Establishment

Location

Dates

Facilities

Manchester Royal Infirmary Public Baths, Piccadilly

Manchester

1781 – 1847

Warm Wash Baths, Showers

Buxton Bath, Mattock Bath

Adelphi Swimming Baths

Salford

Opened 29th July 1835 – 1858

4 Swimming Baths

Males 1st Class 79ft x 25ft

Males 2nd Cass 104ft x 30ft

Males 3rd Class 110ft x30ft

Female 27ft x 13ft

Small Children’s Swimming Bath

Male and Female Buxton and Matlock Baths

Dolphin Baths, Horrocks, Red Bank,

Manchester

Opened 23rd May 1836 – 1858

Cold & Warm Wash Baths
2 Swimming Baths  93ft  x 51ft

Miller Street Baths and Wash Houses

Manchester

Opened 23rd May 1836 –acquired by MSBLC 1862

Wash Baths; Male 6, Female 6

Wash House 26 Washing Tubs

Miles Platting Baths and Wash Houses, Sycamore Street

Manchester

Opened 1st July 1850 – 1869 acquired by MSBLC 1864

Wash Baths; Male 15, Female 8
Wash House 56 Washers
Plunge Bath 27ft 8ins x 18ft

Greengate Baths and Wash House (MSBLC)

Salford

Opened 27th August 1856 – 1877

Swimming Baths

Male 1st Class 53ft 6ins x 25ft

Male 2nd Class 53ft 6ins x 25ft

Wash Baths; Male 34, Female 12

Wash House for 38 Washers

Mayfield Baths
(MSBLC)

Manchester

Opened 24th June 1857 (Purchased by Manchester City Council in 1877) closed in 1941

2 Swimming Baths
Male 1st Class 63ft x 24ft
Male 2nd Class 55ft x 30ft

Wash Baths; Male 39, Female 21

Vapour Bath

Wash House 36 Washing Tubs

Location

The Adelphi district of Salford is situated in a bend in the River Irwell whose course follows a distinctive U-shape as it crosses the political border between Salford and Manchester. In the late 1820’s both Salford and Manchester were continuing to expand with industrialists and investors building more factories and houses.

Salford’s Adelphi area ‘was home to extensive works engaged in finishing cloth by various processes such as bleaching, sizing, dyeing and printing. At the bottom of the ‘U’ was a desirable residential area known as ‘The Crescent’’.[6] Typically, accommodation for the new factory workers was provided within the vicinity of their place of work.

The specialist finishing techniques required large quantities of water and at the time this would have been available from the relatively unpolluted River Irwell.[7] Ordinance Survey maps of the district for the period 1835 to 1860 reveal an area occupied by numerous bodies of water described as reservoirs and filtration ponds. Mr. Thomas Bury Snr had been responsible for the construction of some of these reservoirs having purchased land from the Earl of Derby[8] to provide water to the Adelphi Print Works that he also owned.

Mr Bury had pursued a clearly thought through commercial plan to bring about the creation of a Public Swimming Baths by establishing a secure water supply, erecting buildings and siting the establishment within reach of a heavily populated district.

The 1848, 1850 Ordnance Survey Map[9] shows the public baths establishment bounded by Filtering Ponds along Peru Street on one side with Great George Street and Reservoir Terrace along the two other sides. The entrance is not marked but visible and labelled are; three Gentlemen’s Swimming Baths 1st, 2nd & 3rd class; Ladies Swimming Bath, Ladies Warm Bath and Gentleman’s Warm Baths. Changing cabins and associated rooms are also visible.

There is evidence that the building was at least partly roofed as the Last Will and Testament of Mr. Thomas Bury[10] makes reference to the buildings he had ‘lately erected’ …intended for the Public Swimming Baths’. Also in 1863[11], after the establishment had been closed for some time, there is a report of lead being stolen from a roof. However, whether the entire building was roofed at the time the baths were in operation is not certain.

Although the 1952 article by Geo. H. Hutchinson[12] refers to the building as being in Peru Street access to the establishment was from ‘Reservoir Terrace’ as indicated by a reference in Drake’s Road Book of the Grand Junction Railway 1837[13].

Reservoir Terrace is visible as the restricted walkway between the Adelphi Reservoir on one side and filtering ponds, the Swimming Baths and a row of houses on the other side.

The establishment may have been sign posted at the end of Reservoir Terrace at its junction with Peru Street giving rise to the description sometimes used as the building being on Peru Street.

Newspaper advertisements, published between 1835 and 1858, sometimes describe the building as being close to St Philip’s Church. This church is displayed on the 1850 ordnance survey map is some distance away.

The 1850 Ordnance Survey map also shows Adelphi House and Gardens, the family home built by Mr. Thomas Bury along with manufacturing sites, reservoirs, filtering ponds and roads laid out to facilitate future development.

Fig.2 Ordnance Survey Manchester and Salford Sheet 22 Scale 1.1056 1848, 1850 showing Adelphi Swimming Baths St Philips Church Adelphi House and surrounding area

The Opening of the Adelphi Swimming Baths 1835

The Adelphi Swimming Baths advertised, in the Manchester Courier on 1st August 1835, that it was to open its ‘extensive and commodious’ establishment to the public.[14] The scale of the facility was impressive;

Two swimming baths, 36 yards long by 10 yards wide. The depth of each swimming bath was 31/2 feet at the shallow end, graduating to 6 feet at the deep end. The swimming baths were fed with filtered water in a constant stream.

‘They are fitted with every attention to comfort and convenience of the bather, and will be found equally adapted for boys as for adults’[15].

Swimmers were known as ‘bathers’, and were provided with dressing rooms and a towel at a cost of 6 pence. As a cheaper alternative, bathers were charged 3 pence if they had their own towel and did not use a dressing room. The opening times were 5am to 8pm, with Sunday opening hours 5am to 8am.

The baths were reported in the Chester Courant as having ‘No less than 1,833 persons in two days’[16] which is a significant number.

A letter appeared in the press from a ‘A Bather’ recommending ‘that rules should be adopted for the regulation of the new Adelphi Swimming Bath.; similar to those at Infirmary Baths, and that they should be printed in large characters, and posted up in each dressing room, and on the walls of the gallery.’[17]

Improvements for 1836

On May 16th 1836, the Adelphi Baths announced that they would open for the new bathing season. Both swimming Baths had been ‘considerably improved since last season’, largely due to suggestions offered to the proprietors by gentleman patrons.[18]

A new third ‘elegantly finished swimming bath’ had been built ‘fitted up with private dressing rooms, and every other desirable convenience.’ The admission charge for this new first class bath was One Shilling. The cost for using the original Baths remained the same as those for 1835. The provision of three swimming baths confirms that there was a significant demand.

The pricing arrangements were formulated to attract a board spectrum of the community based upon the ability to pay. The services and quality of provision differed between the classes of swimming bath. This business approach ensured the opportunity to bath would be available to a larger population and also increased profitability. The same approach can be experienced in the 21st Century in the provision of hotel services, rail travel and the airline industry.

The Ladies Baths with Separate Entrance 1837

For the 1837 season, the Adelphi Baths was advertising a detailed account of its facilities.[19]

The first bath is described as being 112 feet in length and 30 feet wide, with ‘suitable conveniences for the bathers’.[20] The second is described as being of identical dimensions and ‘handsomely fitted up with dressing-rooms’.

The third pool is identified as being; ‘80 feet long by 25 feet, furnished with forty-nine private dressing rooms, fitted up with peculiar elegance and on which no expense has been spared to render it superior to any other bath in the kingdom’. [21]

All of the baths gradually increased in depth from 3 to 61/2 feet.

The baths are also described as providing; ‘a safe and healthful recreation to such of the younger visitors who may wish to acquire the manly art of swimming’.[22]

In addition to its ‘three large swimming baths’[23] there was a ‘Matlock and Buxton Warm Bath’ for the use of gentlemen. They were both 12 feet square, varying in depth from 4 to 5 feet.

The ladies facilities were also detailed. In addition to a cold water bath, 27 feet by 13 feet with a graduated depth of 3 feet 6 inches to 5 feet, the ladies also had a Buxton Warm Bath, 13 feet square, varying in depth from 4 feet to 4 feet 6 inches.

‘The ladies’ baths are entered from the side of the building opposite to that on which all other entrances are placed, and altogether as distinct as though belonging to a separate and remote establishment.’[24] The main entrance was positioned on Reservoir Terrace and so the ladies entrance would have been located on Great George Street.

A further selling point was declared to be that; ‘the great swimming baths are supplied with the purest filtered water constantly running through them, from the immense reservoirs to which they are attached’[25].

Prices of Admission and Commercial Expectations 1837

Prices for admission remained as those set for 1835 and 1836 with the additional facility; ‘For the convenience of gentlemen visiting the third bath, subscription tickets will be issued. Subscribers one Guinea will be entitled to twenty-eight tickets for the season’[26].

The expense of expanding the company’s operations must have been considerable and there was anticipation that the investment would be recouped;

‘The whole establishment will, it is hoped, be found worthy to command as amount of patronage adequate to the cost at which such provision has been made for the health and recreation of all classes of the inhabitants of these towns and vicinities.’[27]

Railway Guides 1837

The baths were identified in Drake’s Road Book of the Grand Junction Railway[28] along with other local facilities of the time;

BATHS
Public Baths, situate at the entrance of Infirmary Walks
Adelphi Swimming Baths, Reservoir Terrace, Salford
Dolphin Cold Baths, Horrocks Red Bank
Medicated Vapour Bath, No. 1 Lloyd Street
Whitlow’s Vapour Baths, 35 George Street

Railway Guides 1838

The baths featured in two further Railway Guides published in 1838; Freeling’s Grand Junction Railway Companion to Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham (p.166) and The Iron Road Book and Railway Companion from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool (p.146).

Attention should be given to the temperature of the water 1838

Both the Adelphi Swimming Baths and the Dolphin Baths, Red Bank were advertised to be opened during May 1838. However, a Correspondent writing in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire Advertiser suggested;

‘….that some attention should be paid by the proprietary to the water temperature’.[29]

Advertisements 1839 to 1840

The baths were advertised as being opened for the season from the 9th May 1839[30] and 2nd May 1840[31]. The advertisements were short and no longer provided details of the facilities available.

Small Children’s Bath 1841

In May 1841, the Adelphi Baths opened for the new season. Additional facilities had been added in the closed season in order to accommodate children ‘who are too young to bathe in the larger baths’. [32] The ‘small baths’ for children could be used for 3 pence, the ladies bath charged at 6 pence, and ‘bathing dresses and caps could be hired for 3 pence.

Opening Times 1842

In 1842 the baths opened for the season on Saturday 23rd April. The opening hours were extended weekdays until 9pm and Sundays to include 5pm to 8pm.[33]

Opening Times 1843 and 1844

Opening times reverted to; ‘from five o’clock in the morning till five-o’clock in the evening; and on Sundays from five till eight o’clock in the morning and from five till eight o’clock in the evening’.[34]

Advertised for Auction 1845

The Adelphi Baths was advertised as Lot 4[35] in an auction by Mr. T. M. Fisher;

‘Valuable Property in Salford consisting of Print Works, Mills, Cottages, Chief Rents, and Building land belonging to the Trustees under the Will of the late Mr. Thomas Bury’.

Lot 4. The Adelphi Baths with the filterer adjoining the same, situate in Peru Street and Canning Street, the site of which contains about 3,353 square yards. Also a plot of vacant land behind the baths fronting Canning Street, containing about 479 square yards. Also, four well-secured chief rents, issuing out of adjoining plots of land, amounting in the whole to £12 5s 6d per annum. The above premises are leasehold, held for a term of which 62 years are unexpired, and they are intended to be sold subject to the payment of a yearly sum of £25, as an apportioned part of the said chief rent.

Opening 1846 and 1847

The baths were advertised as being opened from Wednesday 13th May1846[36] and Wednesday 13th May 1847.[37]

1848 to 1849

No references found to date.

Directory Guide Listing 1850

An entry is published in Slater’s General and Classified Directory and Street Register of Manchester and Salford and Their Vicinities Published by Isaac Slater 1850. The entry on p. 8 reads;

‘ADELPHI SWIMMING BATHS, Adelphi Salford (Executors of Thomas Bury)’

1851

No references found to date.

Fatality and Advertised for Auction 1852

Unfortunately a boy was reported as being drowned at the establishment in September 1852[38];

Henry Brannan, an apprentice to a shoemaker, was bathing the Adelphi Shimming Baths, Salford. Companion named Farrell was the only one in the bath with him at the time. Brannan had bathed and put on most of his clothes, when he commenced running along the platform which goes round the room. This platform was very slippery, and when Brannan was running along his foot slipped and he fell into the bath in part where the water was very deep.

An inquest returned a verdict of “Accidentally drowned,” and expressed their feeling that In addition to the top rail another rail should be put up along the bottom, by which bathers might be prevented from slipping off the platform when in a slippery state’.

During November the facility is advertised for auction by Mr. Capes;

Lot 23. All those BUILDINGS and PREMISES known as the Adelphi Swimming Baths, and bounded by Reservoir Terrace, Peru-street, Canning-street, and Cannon-street, with the Plot of Land forming site thereof, containing about 3,353 square yards, and marked 23 plan. This property held for the remainder of term, of which years are unexpired, and will be sold subject to the payment of apportioned yearly ground rent of £83 16s 6d, to be reserved to the vendors, as before mentioned.[39]

Guide Listing 1853

The facility is listed in ‘A New Alphabetical and Classified Directory of Manchester & Salford,
Bolton, Bury, Wigan, Ashton-under-Lyne, Stalybridge, Oldham, Rochdale, etc., By W. Whellan & Co (1853) p.378’

ADELPHI SWIMMING BATHS, Adelphi S. (Executors of T. Bury)

Also, during May an advertisement announced that the baths would be opened from 9th May, the proprietor being Thomas Bury.[40]

Advertisements 1854 and 1855

In April 1854 the baths were advertised as being opened[41]. In 1855 an advertisement detailed its opening from Wednesday 2nd May.[42] Thomas Bury is identified as the Proprietor.

Artesian Well and a Detailed Description 1856

There may have been a subsequent problem with the water supply or quality of the water as in 1856 a decision was made to access a new supply by the use of an Artesian Well[43]. The water from this well served the first and second class swimming baths.

The baths were advertised more fully in 1856[44] and a description of the First Class Bath is described as being of ‘Marble’.

ADELPHI SWIMMING BATHS, PERU STREET, NEAR ST. PHILIP’S CHURCH, SALFORD.- Established 1835. – These Extensive Commodious BATHS, having been thoroughly repaired, cleansed, and beautified, are now OPEN each day from five o’clock in the morning until eight o’clock the evening; and, on Sundays, from five until eight o’clock in the morning, and from five until eight o’clock in the evening.

The details of the baths explain that;

The water supplied to the first and second-class baths is now taken from the Artesian well belonging to the proprietor, and is of the purest description.

The third class bath continued to be supplied with filtered water as in former years.

The sizes and water capacities of the baths is also presented;

First-class bath contains 54,295 gallons of water, and is 79 feet long by 25 feet broad, and from 3 to 7 feet deep.

Second-class bath contains 87,328 gallons of water, and is 104 feet long by 30 feet broad, and from 3 to 7 feet deep.

Third-class bath contains 92,390 gallons of water and is 110 feet long by 30 feet broad, and from 3 to 6 feet deep.

Prices:

First-class large marble bath, with commodious dressing room and two napkins, 1s.

Second-class bath, with commodious dressing room and one napkin. 6d.;

Third-class bath, 2d.

The baths were further advertised in the Manchester Daily Examiner & Times[45] and the Manchester Times[46] but with reduced detail;

THE ADELPHI SWIMMING BATHS Peru Street, near St. Phillip’s Church, Adelphi, Salford, are NOW OPEN T. Bury

1857

No references found to date.

Auction, New Proprietor & Bankruptcy of Mr. Edward Jackson 1858

The Adelphi Swimming Baths site along with other property was again advertised as Lot. 2 By Mr. William Grundy for an auction to take place at the Clarence Hotel, Spring Gardens, Manchester, on Friday the 23rd of July 1858[47].

The establishment was advertised as being opened[48] and the Proprietor as being Mr. Edward Jackson, late master of the Greengate Baths. The prices were greatly reduced from those of previous years.

ADELPHI SWIMMING BATHS, near St. Philip’s Church, Salford.—These Baths, by far the Largest, and containing the Best Water of any in the neighbourhood of Manchester, WILL BE OPENED on SATURDAY NEXT. First-class, 6d.; Second-class, 2d.—Mr. JACKSON, proprietor, late master of the Greengate Baths.

Also, advertised were Lessons in the Art of Swimming by Professor Dixon, from the Isle of Man with fees being; First-class 10s Second class 5s[49].

However, all does not appear to have been going well as on 16th October 1858, a notice appears in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser[50] advising that a petition for insolvency had been lodged. In November 1858[51] the final petition for insolvency was declared. Mr. Jackson was bankrupt.

Overall Development

From 1835 to 1858 The Adelphi Swimming Baths had a varied history. The establishment had been developed as an extensive facility offering three classes of large swimming baths along with other types of warm and cold bathing accommodation for men, ladies and children.

The establishment continued to operate and develop despite of the death of Mr. Thomas Bury Snr in 1836, its original owner, just 8 months after its opening in July 1835. The executors of the estate continued its operation. There were subsequently three attempts to offer the property for sale through auction in 1845[52], 1852[53] and finally in 1858[54]. These advertisements probably created some uncertainty in the minds of potential customers.

In later years Mr. Thomas Bury Jnr (1804 – 1867) and latterly Mr. Edward Jackson took on the role of proprietor.

An examination of the frequency, various sizes and styles of advertisements placed in the local newspapers might reflect the levels of interest displayed by the operators and the levels of natural popularity the establishment held.

During the early years 1835 to 1837 advertisements were extensive and descriptive outlining the facilities available and describing the gradual development of the offering.

Between1838 and 1840 advertisements are small, simply stating the facility as being opened from a specified date.

In 1841 the announcement that a small bath had been fitted up for children that were too young to bathe in the larger baths[55] was published. The advertisements reduced in size and frequency from 1842 to 1853. Mr Thomas Bury Jnr took on the role of proprietor in 1854 and in 1856 a detailed advertisement appears[56]. Finally, in 1858 Mr. Edward Jackson becomes the proprietor and places several small advertisements and attracts a Professor of Swimming to offer lessons in the Art of Swimming.

Other establishments were being developed significantly by the Manchester and Salford Baths and Laundries Company. The Greengate Baths and Wash House opened 27th August 1856 probably offering more attractive facilities and so the Adelphi Swimming Baths, the first purpose built Public Swimming Baths in Salford, finally closed in 1858.

What happened to the Adelphi Swimming Baths and Adelphi House?

There is no evidence to confirm that the baths continued to operate after Mr. Jackson had been declared insolvent in 1858.

There is however a newspaper report that suggests the establishment may have been left unoccupied for a number of years.

Report of Lead Stealing 1863

In July 1863, a report in the Manchester Courier explains that a thief had been apprehended when attempting to steal lead from the building.[57] Given that it was a Saturday night at 10pm, and the baths, if in operation, would be open at 8am the following morning, and that the stolen lead was placed ‘directly inside the door’, it is unlikely that the establishment was still in operation.

Study of Ordnance Survey Maps

The history of the Adelphi Swimming Baths is linked with the life of Mr. Thomas Bury Snr his family and his home Adelphi House. The gradual changes to the buildings over time can be followed by referring to Ordnance Survey maps.

Manchester and Salford Sheet 22, 1848, 1850

The Ordnance Survey map (Manchester and Salford Sheet 22 Scale 1.1056 1848, 1850) shows the detailed layout of the Adelphi Swimming Baths and the location of Adelphi House with its extensive gardens leading down to the River Irwell. The Adelphi Dye Works (Silk, Woolen and Cotton), Adelphi Print Works (Calico), along with the associated filtering ponds and reservoirs are detailed.

Fig.3 Ordnance Survey Manchester and Salford Sheet 22 1848, 1850 Shows detailed layout of the Adelphi Swimming Baths and location of Adelphi House with extensive gardens

Ordnance Survey map of 1892

By 1892, two terraced houses are seen to occupy part of the old baths site and a Saw Mill now identified occupying the majority of the site. The large Adelphi Reservoir is now a Timber Yard. The filtering ponds have been replaced by the Adelphi Iron Works and the New Bridge Foundry (Iron). Adelphi House is a Freemasons Hall.

Fig.4 Ordnance Survey 1;2500 County Series Lancashire Sheet CIV.6 1892 Adelphi House as a Freemasons Hall and site of the Adelphi Swimming Baths site as Saw Mill

Ordnance Survey map of 1908

In 1908 Adelphi House is no longer detailed and appears as a ‘Tank’. The Adelphi Reservoir is a large Timber Yard and the baths a Saw Mill. A new much larger Adelphi House has been built opposite the Royal Hospital.

Fig.5 Ordnance Survey 1 2500 county series Lancashire Sheet CIV 6 1908 Showing the Old Adelphi House and Swimming Pool sites and the New Adelphi House

Ordnance Survey map of 1915

The 1915 map displays little detail with the old sites shown as blank rectangles. The Adelphi Dye Works site now accommodates the Peel Works (Electrical Engineering).

Fig.6 Ordnance Survey Maps Lancashire CIV.6 Revised 1915 Published 1922 Showing the old Adelphi Swimming Baths and Adelphi House sites as blank rectangles

Ordnance Survey map of 1933

Greater details are offered by the 1933 map. The Adelphi Swimming Baths site is identified as four separate elements; two terraced houses, Lead Seal Works, Club and Copper Works. The Adelphi Reservoir site has a tennis court and Adelphi House has been replaced by a warehouse.

Fig.7 Topographic Maps Ordnance Survey Lancashire CIV.6 (Includes Manchester; Salford) 1931, 1933 showing Adelphi Swimming Baths site as Lead Seal Works Club Copper Works

Photograph 1930’s

A photograph taken in the 1930’s shows the two terraced houses and a building, with a row of three ridged roofs and large chimney, occupying the site of the Adelphi Swimming Baths.

Whether this is the remains of the original building or a replacement is not known. However, the building does reflect the general layout of the establishment shown in the 1848, 1850 Ordnance Survey Map.

The houses shown are probably those that occupied the site at the time the swimming baths was in operation.

Fig.8 Adelphi Swimming Baths Building Circa 1934 (Source Britain From Above)

University of Salford, Centenary Building 2021

The University of Salford, Centenary Building has been built on the site of the Adelphi Reservoir and a car park covers the location of the baths.

Summary

In summary we know;

Mr. Thomas Bury Snr, a significant owner of freehold and leasehold land and property, had commissioned the building of the Adelphi Swimming Baths as a publicly accessed facility. Mr Bury also built Adelphi House as a family home. The baths continued to operate after his death in 1836 by his executors followed by Thomas Bury Jnr, his son, as Proprietor.

The last proprietor was Edward Jackson a former Baths Master at the Greengate Baths, Salford built and operated by the Manchester and Salford Baths and Laundries Company.

The establishment operated seasonally from 1835 to 1858.

Opening hours were general advertised consistently over time as being;

  • From five o’clock in the Morning till eight o’clock in the Evening, and;
  • Sundays, from five till eight in the morning and from five till eight o’clock in the evening.

From 1837 to 1856 the terms of admission were consistent:

  • First Class Swimming Bath, with use of towels, private dressing room etc., 1s 0d
  • Second Class Swimming Bath, with use of towels, dressing rooms etc., 0s 6d
  • Third Class Swimming Bath – 0s 3d
  • Children’s Bath 3d.
  • Ladies’ Bath 6d.
  • Bathing Dress and Cap 3d.
  • Subscription tickets were issued to gentlemen visiting the First Class bath.
  • Subscribers to the First Class bath paying one Guinea were entitled to twenty-eight tickets for the season.

By 1856 the establishment provided following facilities;[58]

  • First Class bath containing 54,295 gallons of water, 79 feet long by 25 feet broad and from 3 to 7 feet deep.
  • Second Class bath containing 87,328 gallons of water, 104 feet long by 30 feet broad and from 3 to 7 feet deep.
  • Third Class bath containing 92,390 gallons of water, 110 feet long by 30 feet broad and from 3 to 6 feet deep
  • For Gentlemen
    Matlock and Buxton Warm Baths, each 12 feet square and varying in depth from 4 to 5 feet with dressing rooms
  • For Ladies
    Cold Water Bath, 27 feet long, 13 feet broad, and gradually increasing in depth from 31/2 to 5 feet.
    Buxton Warm Bath 13 feet square and 4 to 41/2 feet deep with dressing rooms.
  • A small Bath fitted up for children who are too young to bathe in the larger baths.

The water quality in the large baths was ensured by the purest filtered water, constantly running through them, from the immense reservoirs to which they were attached.

In 1856[59] the proprietor installed an Artesian well to provide water to the first and second class baths.

In 1856 the First Class bath is described as being of ‘Marble’. Whether this had always been the case is unknown. Prices remained consistent with exception that the Third Class Bath was now 2d.

When Mr. Edward Jackson became proprietor in 1858 the prices had been reduced significantly: First class 6d, Second class 2d, Third class 1d.

Conclusion

Exploring the history of Salford’s First Public Swimming Baths has offered an interesting subject for research. The building of the Adelphi Swimming Baths by Mr. Thomas Bury, who was an accomplished and practical industrialist, should be more widely acknowledged.

There may be an opportunity for a future Archaeological investigation of the Adelphi Swimming Baths site should the opportunity arise.

The opportunity exists to explore and appreciate the role of other early public swimming baths establishments and to achieve a greater appreciation of the character and motives of the people that created them

References

[1] Thomas Bury esquire Last Will and Testament England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858 P.647 PROB 11/1862 to P. 659 PROB 11/1862 accessed through Ancestry.com 10th January 2022

[2] Timperley, Charles Henry.  Annals of Manchester Biographical, Historical, Ecclesiastical and Commercial from the earliest period to the close of the year 1839 p.93

[3] To Be Let Manchester Courier and Lancashire Advertiser Saturday 10th March 1838 p.1

[4] Hutchinson, Geo. H. A Brief History of the Baths Department of the City of Salford (The Baths Service – The Journal of Bath Superintendents August 1952 Volume 11 No. 116 p.16-19 

[5] Teasdale, Albert. M.N.A.B.S. A Summarised Record of the Provision and Development of Public Baths & Wash Houses, with Special Reference to Manchester 1945 Chapter 3

[6] Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History Adelphi Dye Works accessed 16th November 2021 Adelphi Dye Works – Graces Guide

[7] Ibid.

[8] Thomas Bury esquire Last Will and Testament England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858 P.647 PROB 11/1862 to P. 659 PROB 11/1862 accessed through Ancestry.com 10th January 2022

[9] Ordnance Survey Office Southampton Ordnance Survey Manchester & Salford Sheet 22 Scale 1:1056 published 1848, 1850

[10] Thomas Bury esquire Last Will and Testament England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858 P.647 PROB 11/1862 to P. 659 PROB 11/1862 accessed through Ancestry.com 10th January 2022

[11] ‘Stealing Lead’, Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, Saturday, July 4, 1863 p.9

[12] Hutchinson, Geo. H. A Brief History of the Baths Department of the City of Salford The Baths Service – The Journal of Bath Superintendents August 1952 Volume 11 No. 116 p.16-19 

[13] Drake, James. Drake’s Road Book of the Grand Junction Railway 1837 p. 134

[14] ‘Adelphi Swimming Baths’, Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, Saturday, August 1, 1835 p.1

[15] Ibid.

[16] Baths at Manchester Chester Courant – Tuesday 4th August 1835 p.3

[17] To Readers and Correspondents Manchester and Courier and Lancashire Advertiser Saturday 22nd August 1835 p.2

[18] Adelphi Baths Manchester Times, Saturday, May 7, 1836 p.2

[19] Adelphi Baths Salford’, Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, May 27, 1837 p.1

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid.

[23] ‘Adelphi Baths Salford’, Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, Saturday 6th May 1837 p.1

[24] Adelphi Baths Salford Manchester & Salford Advertiser – Saturday 20th May 1837 p.1

[25] Ibid.

[26] Adelphi Baths Salford Manchester & Salford Advertiser Saturday 27th May 1837 p.1

[27] Adelphi Baths Salford  Manchester & Salford Advertiser 20th May 1837 p.1

[28] Drake, James. Drake’s Road Book of the Grand Junction Railway (James Drake) 1837 p.134

[29] The Baths Manchester Courier and Lancashire Advertiser Saturday 12th May 1837

[30] Notice, Adelphi Swimming Baths Manchester and Salford Advertiser 4th May 1839 p.1

[31] Adelphi Swimming Baths Manchester Courier and Lancashire Advertiser Saturday 2nd May 1840 p.1

[32] ‘Adelphi Swimming Baths’, Manchester Times, 8th May, 1841 p.1.

[33] Adelphi Swimming Baths Manchester Courier and Lancashire Advertiser Saturday 23rd April 1842 p.4

[34] Adelphi Swimming Baths Manchester Courier and Lancashire Advertiser Saturday 6th May 1843 p.5

[35] By Mr. T. M. Fisher Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 6th December 1845 p.4

[36] Adelphi Swimming Baths Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Friday 8th May 1846 p.1

[37] Adelphi Swimming Baths Manchester & Salford Advertiser Saturday 15th May 1847 p.1

[38] Preston Paper Boy Drowned in a Bath Westmorland Gazette Saturday 4th September 1852 p.2

[39] Mr. CAPES Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 27th November 1852 p.8

[40] The Adelphi Swimming Baths Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 7th May 1853 p.1

[41] The Adelphi Swimming Baths Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 22nd April 1854 p.12

[42] Public Swimming Baths Manchester Times Saturday 28th April 1855 p.1

[43] Adelphi Swimming Baths, Peru Street, near St. Philip’s Church Manchester Courier and Lancashire Advertiser Saturday 17th May 1856 p.1

[44] Adelphi Baths Salford Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 27th May 1837 p.1

[45] The Adelphi Swimming Baths Peru Street Manchester Daily Examiner & Times Saturday 31st May 1856 p.4

[46] The Adelphi Swimming Baths Peru Street Manchester Times Saturday 31st May 1856 p.4

[47] By Mr. William Grundy Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 3rd p.12 & 10th July 1858 p.12

[48] Adelphi Swimming Baths Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, July; 7th, 21st August; 4th, 18th September 1858

[49] Adelphi Swimming Baths Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 24th July, 7th, 21st August 1858

[50] In The County Court Lancashire Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 16th October 1858 p.2

[51] Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 6th November 1858 p.2

[52] Valuable Property in Salford Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 1st November 1845 p.1

[53] Valuable Freehold and Leasehold Shops Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 27th November 1852 p.4

[54] By Mr. William Grundy Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 3rd July 1858 p.12

[55] Adelphi Swimming Baths near the Crescent Salford Manchester Times Saturday 8th May 1841 p.1

[56] Adelphi Swimming Baths Peru Street Near St. Philip’s Church Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 17th May 1856 p.1

[57] Local Police Courts, Stealing Lead Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Saturday 4th July 1863 p.9.

[58] Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 17th May 1856 p.1

[59] Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 16th June 1855 p.1

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