Lancaster Baths. The Samuel Gregson Public Baths. Precise Reconstruction of the Facade.
Lancaster Baths – the Samuel Gregson Baths were the first public baths to be presented to the City by M.P. Mr Samuel Gregson 1863.
Lancaster Baths were a unique mix and blend of architecture was illuminated at the front to present a very pretty picture the city of Lancaster had ever experienced.
Lancaster Baths Quote, “ There had been no slavish adherence on the part of the architect to any particular style.” (London News 5/9/1863) The general style was Tudor, with Elizabethan ornamental parts and posessing an Italian style spire.
The building contained first and second private baths and the swimming bath was 40 ft long by 25 ft. wide.
The day the pool opened peals of bells rung over the City. A procession with the Mayor of Liverpool, the High Sheriff and the Rifle Corps boys of the National School marched from the Town Hall to the Baths for the opening, amidst colourful bunting. A dinner followed for 130 guests and other principle inhabitants.The day concluded with the singing of the National Anthem – with festivities and fireworks continuing in the City.
Centenary celebrations were celebrated at the “Ultra-modern” Kingsway Baths in 1963.
The baths lived on, people of the City enjoying the pleasures of swimming in the 5ft – 7ft water.
In the interest of safety the water levels were dropped to 3 feet deep.
Once the new Kingsway Baths had been built in 1939, Mr Gregson’s personal gift to the City had ended.
During these twilight years, the North Western Electricity Board occupied the site from 1939 to 1983. There was immense pride – the workers having their workshops incorporated in the building.
They were pleased to guide people around the old landmarks of the bath, pointing out features right down to the present day equivalent spin dryer! The worn lettering carved into the stone work survived through its life.
OUTCOME: New developments were planned for what was known as the Green Ayre site, and clearance of the old historic baths were unavoidable – however – with “Labour of Love” this unique loved piece of history was not to be cast away.
Piece by piece, and with painstaking numbering, the facade was dismantled to be incorporated into the entrance of the new Sainsbury’s store planned for the site.
Lovingly rebuilt, but not a swimming pool but a supermarket. Does anyone remember it as it was. Any hints?