Massive news today from down here at Love Withington Baths, the community charity we set up to save and then run the last working, water-filled Edwardian baths in Manchester, and probably one of the few left in the country!
We’ve been running the Baths for a year come 20th June and during that time, on an incredibly tight budget, have already achieved the following:
- Redesigned gym with brand new equipment
- Re-instated and renovated filtration system and tank
- Redecoration and new flooring to communal areas
- A stunning sensory garden currently being built in the gardens
But more than that, this stunning building, threatened with closure and in all likelihood carving up and selling off, is now a viable success as a vibrant, community focused pool and fitness centre, with hundreds of local people walking down and in to use this fabulous facility on their doorstep. New staff have got settled in, got to know the building and area, and over 1600 new members have joined us in a year. A massive amount of effort from both staff and the core charity directors have ensured these early positives and made the lengthy fight during the campaign well worth the effort.
So what now?! Well, now it’s time to get serious about restoring and renovating this incredible building and cementing its future as a community hub. We’ve proved it’s a viable business and building, now it’s time to begin the proper investment in its future.
Introducing The Bathhouse Project!! Today we’ve launched our brand new crowd source funding initiative to raise up to a little over £29,000 to totally transform a major section of the building. The aim is to create a warm, inviting, inspirational space for holistic classes like pilates and yoga, baby class such as massage, kids camp in summer, and community events such as craft and food fairs, or meetings of local groups.
The space, shown in the image below on the left, is currently ugly and cold. The damp floor with its temporary blue flooring is uneven and impractical, and the inefficient radiators fail miserably to warm the room, even with the loathsome lowered ceiling tiles which only serve to hide the glorious soaring roof line. The stained glass windows are broken and all the beautiful original tiles are painted over. From an architectural and design perspective, it’s tragic and from a business & community view, it’s pretty much unusable. The money raised would allow us the restore this room to its former glory and start us on the path to a full and magnificent restoration of the whole building. It’s so SO exciting for us to think this might happen. Reaching for the stars!!
It’s all been costed up and planned and we really can do this, but only with YOUR help.
Take a look at the plans, you property buffs, you’ll love this. The pool we still have in use is the central ‘Males 1st Class & Females’ marked space below. The smaller pool below that marked ‘Males 2nd Class’ was emptied by previous operators many years ago and our current gym built above it.
The two rooms to the left, top and bottom, were the bathhouses where local people would call in, quite literally, for a bath. The slipper baths are sadly long gone but the walls are still tiled and the beautiful glass roof lanterns only hidden by 1980’s suspended tiles. The Male washhouse was the bottom one, currently used as a studio for classes, and the Female washhouse is the upper room. That’s the room we’ll be totally transforming, with your help, hence the name The Bathhouse Project.
We’re planning a beautiful space featuring a brand new floor with energy efficient underfloor heating, luxury soft floor tiles, restored tiled walls and stained glass windows, gorgeous lighting and stylish sympathetic decor throughout. Proper storage, bespoke mirrors and even a new physio room as part of the renovation.
Please help us start to restore this magnificent Edwardian Baths back to it’s former glory by supporting our funding initiative. There are lots of great options, plus a huge party once we’ve finished. Hell, you could even have the whole pool to yourself if you’re feeling particularly generous 😉Pledge now and we can start work this summer!!
Thank you for reading this post & your interest in our community charity (and hopefully your money?!), Sian x