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Neville Malkin's "Grand Tour" of the Potteries

buildings of Hanley
 


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contents: index of buildings in Hanley

No 69 -  Public Baths, Hanley

 


Public Baths, Lichfield Street, Hanley
pen drawing by Neville Malkin - Feb 1976

[since demolished] 

 

photo taken from same spot in Lichfield Street - March 2010
photo taken from same spot in Lichfield Street - March 2010

the only part of the old swimming baths is the electricity sub station on the far right
the back of the Victoria Hall and Town Hall can be seen

"The story of public baths in Hanley goes back to the mid-19th century, when people were becoming concerned about hygiene. The first baths in Hanley were the Eastwood, opened in 1850. They were built by the proprietors of the Eastwood Mills and had hot and cold water for individual baths as well as a large swimming pool.

The second baths were the Etruria public swimming bath, opened in June, 1854. It was described as a swimming and bathing mere and a beautiful place of resort. The pool, measuring 150ft. by 60ft., was situated among a profusion of willows close to the canal and fed by water from the then clear Fowlea Brook. The baths were open daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at a cost of 1d, with an extra d for a towel. Competitions were a regular feature, and in 1858, Samuel Potts, of Hanley, swam two miles in less than three-quarters of an hour. The pool gradually fell into disuse and eventually disappeared.

In 1860 the building of the first indoor pool in Hanley was considered, but it was not until 1871 that the Town Council gave the go-ahead. After careful deliberation, it was decided to accept a house and land in Lichfield Street, offered by the executors of the late Timothy Dimmock, a local boat builder. 

In 1873, Hanley Public Baths were opened. They were built from local red, black and blue brick, with stone for the many embellishments. The baths became the venue for exciting swimming contests. One such match took place on May 7th, 1896, when a purse of gold was the prize in a championship battle between James Cade, of Leek, and John Tinker, of Burslem.

But the most dedicated and outstanding swimmers to use the baths were Norman Wainwright, a life member of Hanley Swimming Club and Britain's greatest free-style swimmer, who became a legend in his lifetime; and Bob Leivers, whose sporting career was unfortunately cut short for health reasons. Norman Wainwright really made Stoke-on-Trent renowned in the 1930s and 1940s when he represented Great Britain in middle distances, at the Olympics in 1932/36/48, the European Games in 1934/38/47, and Europe v. America in 1938. He also represented England in the Empire Games of 1934/38, and, during the course of his incredible career, won 24 English championships and broke 50 English records at distances of 150 yards to one mile."


Neville Malkin
4
th Feb 1976 



 



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