Wednesday, August 19, 2015

European Heritage Open Days 2014 | Belfast | Part II: Templemore Avenue Public Baths and Swimming Pools

After leaving St Mark’s, I headed for Templemore Avenue Public Baths and Swimming Pools. This is another building that I pass close to on a regular basis, travelling to and from work, but had never ventured inside. Time to change that! Even in the late 1800s, many working class homes in east Belfast didn’t have what are today regarded as basic sanitary requirements, such as plumbed baths. To meet that need Templemore Avenue opened in 1893, and was one of four such public baths in Belfast, regularly serving thousands of local residents every week, including workers from the Harland & Wolff shipyards and the Sirocco Works etc. As domestic facilities improved, the need for such public baths waned and, by the early 1980s, the centre faced closure before being rescued by a voluntary committee. The portion of the centre currently open to the public includes a 25 yard pool, gymnasium, and sauna. However, quite a large portion of the building remains off-limits (except for events like EHOD) and in need of restoration and sensitive development. As always, I hope that readers enjoy my photographs, but even more that they’re inspired to get out for EHOD 2015 and see great sites like this for themselves!

Panoramic view of 25 yard pool waiting for restoration

Tile detail
That's a lot of urinals for a Ladies toilet ...
Slipper bath section of the centre
Patrons could even rent out towels ...
Slipper Bath cubicle, currently being used for storage 
You could have all the cold water you liked ... but the hot water was strictly controlled by the baths attendant who held the top portion of the tap!
Detail of truss roof and decorative paneling
Detail of window
Time for restoration!
Corridor of cubicles
Appropriately water-themed fountain in the centre's internal courtyard 
Journey to the furnaces and chimney stack
Exterior view

For anyone interested in the other EHOD properties I’ve seen and written about my find the following of interest:

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