Nine Elms Championship Bath Public Libraries – Battersea District Library – Richard Shaw (1994). Beautifully ornate.
Nine Elms Baths
Nine Elms Baths were in the Renaissance style of architecture, plainly treated and had a frontage to Battersea Park Road of 137 ft and a depth to Cringle Street of 226 ft.
It was built of stock brick with red-brick facings and Portland-stone dressings to the numerous mullioned windows. The plan was dominated by the huge 150ft by 50ft swimming bath required by the baths commissioners, parallel to Cringle Street. This had galleries all round, and was intended in winter for public entertainments, accommodating nearly 1,500 people on two levels. There were reading rooms, gyms and club rooms.
The swimming bath was a wide clear water space, being the largest covered swimming bath in England. Nine Elms Baths was frequented by most of the London Swimming Clubs, and predominantly used for Galas.
The depth of the water at the shallow end is 3ft 6ins and at the deep end 6 ft 6ins.The Bath holding 200,000 gallons of water. The walls of the pond were constructed of cement concrete lined with asphalt, the sides being faced with white glazed bricks, and the bottom with white and blue glazed flat bricks forming an ornamental pattern.
A gallery formed on three sides of the baths hall supported by cantilevers, and the roof is is constructed with circular steel trusses of ornamental design . There was a large central lantern light.
Nine Elms Baths also comprised of six men’s first class slipper baths, 32 men’s second class slipper baths, three womens first class slipper baths, nine womens second class slipper baths, public wash-houses and ironing room, establishment laundry, boiler house and engine room. All centrally heated with radiators, and the laundry and ironing room having beautiful wood blocked flooring.
Nine Elms Baths hosted political meetings. it was often referred to as the People’s Hall being also popular as a boxing venue.
OUTCOME: In the 1930s Nine Elms Baths were living on borrowed time. Structural problems arose in the balconies. Demolition of the galleries and balconies took place in 1956. In 1964 the site was under threat for redevelopment. Nine Elm Baths were reprieved until 1970 due to plans not transpiring. They were demolished in 1971. Lesser buildings occupied the site until giant re organisation and building was underway.