Salford – The Adelphi Swimming Baths

Research by Carl Evans MSc FCIMSPA FCMI
Founder Baths and Wash Houses Historical Archive
Past President of the Institute of Baths & Recreation Management
Health & Fitness Centres – A Guide to their Management & Operation Longmans 1992
Contributions to:
Practical Leisure Centre Management Volume 2 Institute of Baths & Recreation Management

The Annals of Manchester from the earliest period to the close of the year 1839 contains the following reference:

‘Adelphi Swimming Baths Salford opened July 29th 1835.’

The 1850 Ordnance Survey Map (Sheet 22) created by Ordinance Map Office Southampton published 23rd December 1850, shows the Adelphi Reservoir associated with the Adelphi Dye Works and the Adelphi Calico Print Works along with The Adelphi Swimming Baths. 

Adelphi Baths 1850 Ordnance Survey Map

The Adelphi swimming Baths was located on a parcel of land bounded by Peru Street, Great George Street and Reservoir Street. The large Adelphi Reservoir lay to the west side on the building.

This establishment is seen to contain 1st, 2nd and 3rd Class Gentlemen’s Swimming Baths, Ladies Swimming Bath, Gentlemen’s Warm Baths and an Office. 

The Adelphi Baths interior layout from 1850 Ordnance Survey Map

Geo. H. Hutchinson writing in ‘The Baths Service – The Journal of Bath Superintendents’ August 1952 Volume 11 No. 116 p.16-19;  ‘A Brief History of the Baths Department of the City of Salford’, makes reference to the facility:

‘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…’

A Baths Establishment Long Overlooked

However, research into historic newspapers, using ‘The British Newspaper Archive’, indicates that The Adelphi Swimming Baths was operating from 1835 to 1858. This is a period of twenty-four years which is a considerable length of time and suggests that this establishment may have been too long overlooked.


The first advertisement relating to The Adelphi Swimming Baths, discovered to date, appeared in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Saturday 1st August 1835

AELPHI SWIMMING BATHS, near St. Philips Church, The Public are informed that these extensive and commodious BATHS are now OPEN for their accommodation. Each bath is 36 yards long and 10 yards wide: the depth increases gradually from 31/2 to 6 feet, with a stream of filtered water passing through them. They are fitted with every attention to comfort and convenience of the bather, and will be found equally adapted for boys as for adults.

Bath, with the use of dressing-room, towels. &c, 6d
Bath, without dressing room, towels, &c., 3d
Open from 5 in the morning till 8 in the evening; and from 5 till 8 o’clock on Sunday morning.

Another report is presented in the Chester Courant – Tuesday 04 August 1835 indicates the establishment had some wider significance.

Baths at Manchester
A commodious set of baths have been opened to the public at Manchester, called the Adelphi Baths. There are two plunging baths, each 36 yards in length, and 10 in breadth. The price of admission to the best is 6d., to the other 3d., for every individual. No less than 1833 persons in two days.

 Letter from a new user

A letter appeared in Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Saturday 22 August 1835

TO READERS AND CORESPONDENTS “A Bather” recommends 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. He suggests another improvement or two, which will no doubt be attended to, if represented to the proper quarter.

Gradual Improvements to the establishment

The baths were improved over time and The Manchester Times – Saturday 07 May 1836 presented the following description;

These Baths are intended to be opened to the Public on Monday the 16th inst. They at present comprise two excellent Swimming Baths, each of the dimensions of 36yds by 10yds, and have been considerable improved – since last season, agreeably to suggestions offered by many gentlemen who then visited them. They have a constant current of filtered water passing through them, thus insuring to the public its freshness and purity. One of the baths is furnished with convenient dressing-rooms, towels, &c., and the terms of admission will be-

To the General Bath – 3d each
To the Bath with dressing rooms, &c., 6d each

In addition to these Baths, will be opened to the Public on Monday the 23rd instant, a new and elegantly finished Swimming Bath, of similar dimensions, fitted up with private dressing rooms, and every other desirable convenience, the admission to which will be One Shilling.

All Baths are so constructed that any visitor may, at his option, bathe in water, from the depth 3 feet to that of 61/2 feet, each having a particular entrance for boys or persons unable to swim.

Open from 5 in the Morning till 8 in the Evening, and
from 5 till 8 o’clock on Sunday Mornings.

Adelphi Baths, Salford May 1836

The Baths were once again improved as indicated in the advertisement in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Saturday 27 May 1837

ADELPHI BATHS SALFORD— The extensive SWIMMING BATHS, belonging this establishment, are NOW OPEN to the public from five o’clock in the morning till eight in the evening, except on Sundays, when they will remain open from five till eight in the morning, only.

The first of these baths is 112 feet long by 30 feet wide, with suitable conveniences for the bathers. The second of Similar dimensions, and is handsomely fitted up with dressing-rooms &c., and the third is 80 feet long by 25 feet wide, furnished with forty-nine private dressing rooms, fitted up with peculiar elegance, and which no expense has been spared to render it superior to any other bath in the kingdom.

Each bath entirely distinct from the others, and all of them are supplied with the purest filtered water, constantly passing through them from the extensive reservoirs to which they are attached; and. the depth gradually increasing from 3 to 61/2 feet, they afford safe and healthful recreation to such of the younger visitors who may wish to acquire the manly art of swimming.

The terms of admission are

To the first bath – 0s 3d. each
To the second hath, with use of towels, dressing rooms &c., – 0s 6d
To the third bath, with ditto, private dressing room. &c. – 1s 0d

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.

In addition to these now advertised, there will opened the public, in a few weeks, two Warm Baths for gentlemen, each thirteen feet square; and on the other side of the building, an elegantly finished Cold Bath for ladies, 27 feet long by 13 feet wide; and a Warm Bath, twelve feet square; which further particulars will be given in future advertisement.

1838 to 1840

Advertisements appeared in each subsequent year (1837 to 1840) announcing the seasonal opening of the Baths.

1841 Addition of a Children’s Bath and Mention of a Ladies Bath

The advertisement appearing in the Manchester Times – Saturday 08 May 1841 described further additions to the Baths;

ADELPHI SWIMMING BATHS, NEAR THE CRESCENT, SALFORD. T HESE extensive and commodious BATHS are now OPEN for the season. In addition to the baths previously in use, there is now a small Bath fitted up for children who are too young to bathe in the larger Baths. Children’s Bath .3d. Ladies’ Bath 6d. Bathing Dress and Cap 3d.
May 7th, 1841.

1842, 1842 and 1844

The baths were advertised in 1842, 1843 and 1844 as being opened for the season.


In 1845 an advertisement appeared offering the Baths in an auction following the death of the owner of the site Mr. Thomas Bury.

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Saturday 06 December 1845

By Mr T. M. Fisher The following 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 fronting Canning Street, containing about 479 square yards. …. The above premises are Leasehold, held for a term of which 62 years are unexpired.

1846 and 1847 OPENED

The baths were advertised as being opened for the season from Wednesday 13th May 1846. (Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Friday 08 May 1846). A similar advertisement appeared in 1847.

1848 to 1851

No newspaper advertisements or articles currently identified.


In a report of a fatality appeared in the Westmorland Gazette – Saturday 04 September 1852

Preston paper. Boy Drowned in a Bath. Saturday night, a boy named 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 Lis foot slipped* and he was into the bath in part where the water was very deep. Farrell says that he never came again to the surface. Farrell gave an alarm, and Woodbridge, the teacher of swimming at the baths, came in, and after diving once or twice caught hold of Brannan at the bottom. When brought out life was not extinct. Vigorous efforts were made, and all the usual appliances resorted to, to restore animation, but without effect. – An inquest was held on the body Monday by Mr. Butter. The jury 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.

November 1852 – Advertised for Auction

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Saturday 27 November 1852

Valuable Freehold and Leasehold Shops, Houses, Land, Mills, and Works, Salford. By Mr. CAPES, at the Clarence Hotel, Spring Gardens, on Thursday, the 16th December, at (in consequence of the great number of lot) 5 for 6 o’clock prompt, subject to conditions to be then produced, and in the following or such other lots as shall be agreed upon at the time of sale :

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.

1853 to 1856

The baths were advertised in each year as being opened for the season. The proprietor was T. Bury.


No newspaper advertisements or articles currently identified.

1858 Advertised as open with a new proprietor
Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Saturday 03 July 1858

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. (EDWARD JACKSON)

1858 Auction

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Saturday 03 July 1858

Lot 2. All those well-known and capacious Baths, called the ADELPHI SWIMMING BATHS, with the filters adjoining, fronting Peru-street and Reservoir-terrace, Salford, md the land forming the site thereof, containing about square yards. Also all those, Yearly Ground Rents…..

1858 Advertised as open
Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Saturday 18 September 1858

ADELPHI SWIMMING BATHS, near Philip’s Salford, are NOW OPEN. First-class, 6d.; Second class. 2d.; Third-class, 1d.-Mr. JACKSON, proprietor, late master Greengate Baths.

1858 Insolvency of Mr. Edward Jackson
Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Saturday 16 October 1858

In THE COUNTY COURT LANCASHIRE, HOLDEN BALFORD.—Whereas a petition of EDWARD I JACKSON, at present and for fourteen weeks now last past residing at number 8, Wellington-square, Balford, in the parish Ma- Chester, and county palatine Lancaster, and during that period carrying on business as proprietor of the Adelphi Swimming Baths, situate in the Adelphi, in Salford aforesaid; for eighteen months previously thereto resident master the Greengate Baths, Salford aforesaid, and following the occupation of matter or superintendent thereof; and for nine years previously thereto residing at Manchester Union Schools, Swinton, in the said county, and whilst there following the occupation storekeeper, in insolvent debtor and having been filed in the County Court of Lancashire, holden at Salford, an interim order for protection from process having been given the said Edward Jackson, under the provisions of the statutes in that case made and provided, the said Edward Jackson is hereby required to appear in such aforesaid court, the twenty-seventh day October next, at ten o’clock in the forenoon precisely, for his first examination touching his debts estate, and effects, and to be further dealt with according to provisions the said statutes; and notice hereby given, that ; choice assignees is to take piece at the time so appointed. An persons indebted to the said Edward Jackson, who have any of his effects, are not to or deliver the same but to Mr. Frederick Copley Hulton, the official assignee nominated that behalf the said court acting the matter of the said petition

In November 1858 Mr. Edward Jackson was declared bankrupt.
Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Saturday 06 November 1858

No Further Material Available

No further newspaper advertisements or articles currently identified.


A photograph taken in the 1930’s, and found by Mr Gary Williams (Source Britain From Above) shows a building on the site of the Adelphi Swimming Baths. Whether this is the actual building or a replacement is not apparent. However this building does appear to reflect to some extent the general layout of the establishment shown in the 1850 Ordnance Survey Map.

By this time the Adelphi Reservoir had been infilled and a fenced Recreation Ground can be seen to have replaced it. Reservoir Street can be seen on the right hand side of the recreation ground with a row of terraced houses at the top and the Adelphi Baths Swimming Baths building clearly shown with a large chimney and a row of three ridged roofs. The Filtering Ponds appear to have been replaced by an open yard.

Adelphi Swimming Baths Building Circa 1934 Found by Gary Williams Facebook Salford History (Source Britain From Above)

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