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Thread: Swimming Baths and Wash Houses [Pictures and Info]

  1. #1
    Creator & Administrator Kev's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Swimming Baths and Wash Houses [Pictures and Info]

    Public Swimming Baths and Wash Houses

    Personal cleanliness was encouraged through the provision of public baths and wash houses. Indeed Liverpool was a pioneer in this field. Before 1794, there were no baths in Liverpool, but in that year the Corporation bought a private bathing establishment at the end of New Quay, on Bath Street. In 1820 these baths were removed, but in 1822 the council began building another bathhouse which was completed and opened next to George?s Dock in 1828. In 1842 a municipal establishment affordable to the poor was opened. This is said to have followed an example set by Catherine (Kitty) Wilkinson who allowed the poor to use her kitchen for washing clothes and bedding during the 1832 cholera epidemic. Her actions were supported by the philanthropists Mr. and Mrs. William Rathbone. The popularity of Kitty?s
    ?wash house? showed that there was a real need for washing facilities for the poor. The Council thus made the decision to build public wash houses.

    The first public wash house was built in Upper Frederick Street and was the first public baths and wash house in England. Another one was opened in Burroughs Gardens in 1879, and others were built shortly after this. In 1895 the first open-air bath was opened in Burlington Street. This was so popular that three others were built in the City. Then in 1902 the first people?s bath was opened, which was to be used only for cleansing purposes and was not for use as a swimming pool.

    Courtesy: LRO

    1) Burroughs Gardens Wash House 1952

    2) Burroughs Gardens Wash House 1958

    3) Clare Street Baths Washing Machines 1951

    4) Clare Street Baths Washing Machines 1956

    5) Garston Baths 1959

    6) Inside Walton Baths Ready for Performance 1932

    7) Lister Drive Baths no date

    8) Pier Head Baths 1906

    9) Queens Drive Open Air Baths 1961

    10) Walton Baths 1912



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  2. #2
    Senior Member burkhilly's Avatar
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    I remember going to the Wash house every Saturday morning with my mother - this was in Steble Street (off Park Road) - late 60s. We then moved to Old Swan and went to a wash house there, at the junction of Edge Lane/Rathbone Road.

    I know there were public baths - but I find it hard to believe because I've always been able to have a shower/bath whenever I've wanted.

    Bathrooms, central heating, washing machines etc, etc are all things we take for granted now - thank heavens.

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    Keeping It Real !!!!!!!!! ItsaZappathing's Avatar
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    Remember Broadway baths ? Not many pictures exist of that.

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    Senior Member Mark R's Avatar
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    Great photos

    Spent a lot of my childhood in Lister Drive baths (it was opened in 1904). I also remember going to the swimming baths on Margaret Street.

    Here's a link:

    Port Cities: - Liverpool baths and wash houses timeline, 1789-1952
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    heres a photo of whats left of Lodge Lane baths taken last year
    Last edited by robbo176; 01-15-2009 at 09:50 AM. Reason: remove photo
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    Senior Member Mark R's Avatar
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    Great photo Robbo
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    Senior Member robbo176's Avatar
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    thanks Mark
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    Liverpool New Yorker! Ronijayne's Avatar
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    Burkhilly, I remember Steble Street baths. We swam there every week with the school. I went to Mount Carmel. My mother is from Old Swan.
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    My kids learned to swim in Steble St baths as that's where St. Joeys school took them. The water started at ankle deep then went to 3 feet so was great for children learning. As they got to know and like it so well, I continued to take them there every saturday morning then Sayers Park Road on the way home.
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    Senior Member burkhilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronijayne View Post
    Burkhilly, I remember Steble Street baths. We swam there every week with the school. I went to Mount Carmel. My mother is from Old Swan.


    I live in Old Swan now!!! I work in a school and our kids go to Steble Street baths swimming - so it's still there, although the washhouse is well gone!

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    Senior Member gregs dad's Avatar
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    A couple of oldies from 1963 from my flickr site. Scanned from my old slides
    New Brighton baths.
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    Cracker pics GD. Doesn't that lovely water look inviting.
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    I love the pics..The Beauty Contestants, those hairdos, the clothes of 63.. wowie.. Thats a fantastic shot.. And the baths look like they were great fun... ta for sharing..

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    My kids learned to swim in Steble St baths as that's where St. Joeys school took them. The water started at ankle deep then went to 3 feet so was great for children learning. As they got to know and like it so well, I continued to take them there every saturday morning then Sayers Park Road on the way home.
    Steble St had two baths, one for women and one for men. You didn't need a swimming costume and many went in the pool naked - old and young kids. There was no door on the changing cubicles. Then it was modernised and doors were fitted and I believe it eventually became mixed. I don't remember the shallow kiddies pool.
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    Quote Originally Posted by naked lilac View Post
    I love the pics..The Beauty Contestants, those hairdos, the clothes of 63.. wowie.. Thats a fantastic shot.. And the baths look like they were great fun... ta for sharing..
    Diana Ross hair-dos The swimming pool was quite nice. Curved like a stadium with rows of seats around - the pictures do not show the swimming pool properly.

    I wonder what they look like now
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