Opening of Hanley Public Baths Birmingham Daily Post 17th April 1874

The Hanley Baths Birmingham Daily Post Friday 17th April 1874

Birmingham Daily Post Friday 17th April 1874 THE HANLEY PUBLIC BATHS

The Public Baths, which have been erected in Lichfield Street, by the Corporation of Hanley, were opened yesterday.  At present only the men’s baths are constructed, and these will be used by both sexes at different times until the original design is carried out. The instalment of the building already completed has been erected at a cost of about £6,000, which will be paid out of the rates, and it is expected and the bath and it is expected that the baths will at no distant date be self-supporting.

The style of the building is Gothic, freely treated, and a sensible use has been made of the few opportunities afforded for display in the facade. The building contains a swimming bath 60 feet by 29 feet, and increasing in depth from 3 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches, with dressing boxes for twenty-eight bathers: two first-class, four second-class, and six third-class private baths: a vapour bath; a rain bath; several shower baths; and a Turkish Bath. The whole of the baths are fitted up in the best style, the Turkish bath consisting of a suite of rooms presenting a luxurious appearance.

The inauguration yesterday took place in the presence of a large number of ladies and gentleman, who had accepted the invitation of the Mayor (Mr. Henry Cartlidge) to witness the proceedings. The focus of the principle ceremony was the swimming bath, the spectators being arranged along the platform surrounding the water. Alderman Gilman, as chairman of the committee which had had the management of the baths, presided, and made a few introductory remarks after which he called upon Alderman Pidduck, who said if they looked at the condition of the potters, who worked in hot rooms, and often in a dusty atmosphere: and at their colliers, who laboured in grimy places underground, they would see the necessity for providing them with the means of cleansing.

The cost of erecting and furnishing the baths would be something like £6,000 and he hoped the day would come when they would be remunerative. (Here, here.) If such a result did not follow he thought it would be admitted that the advantages of such an institution justified the outlay incurred upon them. (Applause.) – Mr. Powell, who, as Mayor, laid the foundation stone of the baths, in 1872, next spoke. He said public opinion satisfied them before they laid the first stone that such a building was needed and demanded, and it only remained for the public to make such a use of the baths as would enable them to pay their way. He quite expected they would pay their working expenses, and if people used them as they ought, there would be a return for expenditure upon them. (Here, Here.)

The charges fixed were such as would bring them within the reach of all. – Alderman Gilman then presented to the Mayor a very beautifully designed and manufactured silver key: and his Worship, after thanking the gentlemen who had provided the key for their handsome present, amid applause, turned on the water, and the bath, already nearly full, was completely filled. Three cheers were given for his Worship and the Mayoress, and the company adjourned to the Turkish bath room, where refreshments, provided by his Worship awaited them.

In the evening Alderman Gilman entertained the members of the Town Council and a number of other gentlemen at dinner at the Queens Hotel. The guests numbered between ninety and a hundred, and included several ladies. Alderman Gilman presided, supported by Mrs. Gilman, Rev. Sir L. T. Stamer, Bart., Mr. Spooner (County Court Justice(, Mr. T. Ashworth, the Rev. D. Horne, the Mayor and Mayoress, Colonel Roden, Mr. Dimmock, Mr. Wragge, &c. The Vice-chairmen were Messrs. E. Powell and T. Padduck; and among the company were Messrs. M. F. Blakistone (Clerk of the Peace for the County), J. Bill, E.J. Ridgway, J. G. Walker, J. Meakin, s. Kelling, W. Woodall, the Mayor of Longton, &c.

After the usual toasts, Colonel Roden gave “The Ministers of Religion,” which he thought a great improvement upon the old form of the toast, because it included many excellent and worthy men who were formally left out in the cold. – Sir Lovelace Stamer, in responding, said in whatever form it was proposed the toast would always meet a cordial recognition in company of Englishmen.

The Rev. D. Horn also responded. Mr. Blackstone proposed “Town Council of Hanley” and he hoped it would not be too long before the authorities of that and neighbouring towns would have control of their water supply and the lighting of their streets. (Applause.) They ought also to have the power of adopting the: Act for the protection of infant life. He was sorry they could not see their way to establish a public wash-house in connection with the baths, but they had failed in other towns, and it was necessary to defer to the feeling which made women prefer the discomforts of home washing to washing in a public building. Referring to the establishment of a chamber of commerce, he said public opinion had pretty clearly indicated that Hanley was the town in which a chamber and exchange should be held. He hoped that Hanley would not neglect the duty of providing such a building as would secure the exchange to Hanley, and render that town in every sense, as it was geographically the centre of the district. (Applause) He did not think their post office was quite adequate to the town, and he thought the post office authorities might be induced to give them a proper building, and it might be possible to have an exchange under the same roof. (Applause.) The toast was acknowledged by Alderman Padduck and Councillors Powell and Hammersley. – “The Lord-Lieutenant and County and Borough Magistrates,” given by Mr. Lodge and acknowledged by Messrs. Ridgway, Bill and Keeling. – Mr. Barker proposed “The Mayor,” whose health was enthusiastically drunk. Mr. Powell gave “The Chainman,” Alderman Gilman, of whose abilities and public services he spoke in highly eulogistic terms. The toast was drunk with musical honours, and was briefly acknowledged by Alderman Gilman: and the Rev. J. Legge next gave “The Hanley School Board.” Mr Wragge responded. Mr. E. J. Baxter also responded. – Other toasts followed.

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