Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Victoria Baths Manchester Won!!

Yes, I know it's a bit late, but I've been too busy to post since the BBC programme Restoration announced the winner. For those of you who haven't been watching, this was a series devoted to showcasing a large number of old and decaying buildings worthy of restoration. There was a pot of money up for grabs for the winner, which was voted on by the TV viewers. And the Victoria Baths in Manchester won! I was distinctly misty eyed as the results were announced.

I never actually swam at Victoria baths; our pool was the very similar, but slightly less ornate Harpurhey Baths (also in Manchester and probably now demolished, but I haven't been back to the area for getting on for 30 years). Both estabishments were "baths" in both senses of the word, ie they had cubicles with hot baths for getting clean after a hard day's work and also swimming pools. Everything was available to ordinary working class people for a modest sum. That's why I wanted it to win. OK, there were interesting and no doubt worthy stately homes and even industrial buildings in the running too, but Victoria Baths Manchester embodies everything that is wonderful about late Victorian municipal architecture. The building was built for and used by working class people. And furthermore, it can be restored not only to its former glory, but to its former use and will not just be another historic site on the tourist trail, but will once more serve the function it was designed for: to give ordinary people healthy recreation and pleasure.

Read more about the baths...

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