Fulham Baths and Washouses – 1902. Charming architecture

 

Fulham Baths - image

Fulham Baths  Courtesy of Hammersmith & Fulham Libraries 1994

Fulham Baths quote – “Looking out from the Superintendants Apartment one could see a vast array of skylights and roofs charmingley set off by a squat chimney…

…If one stands in the corridor on the southernmost side they enjoy a vast sweep of distance which is curious. we can understand why one official has the habit of cycling from point to point along the corridors…..”

“The Fulham Baths seem to have had a very encouraging opening. Monday nights gathering was distinctly hopeful, and since then the patronage of the public baths has been well marked. It is impossible to gauge the value which will be set upon the private baths, but the intervals of sunny weather have bought many to the other depatments. Quite 200 swimmers on Tuesday and Wednesday disported themselves in the first class bath, and in the second class receptacle to which the admission fee is but 2d there must have been 400……” 

Fulham Baths were built between Melmoth Place leading into Hartismere Road. Mr Pearson was the Architect. “Looking out from the Superintendants Apartment one could see a vast array of skylights and roofs charmingley set off by a squat chimney. If one stands in the corridor on the southernmost side they enjoy a vast sweep of distance which is curious. we can understand why one official has the habit of cycling from point to point along the corridors…..” Chronicle 1902.

Fulham Baths Men's and Mixed Pools - image

Fulham Men’s and Mixed Baths-Courtesy of Hammersmith & Fulham Libraries 1994

There were 3 Baths in all – The Mens Main Bath; the Ladies Second Class Bath and Mixed Baths.  Despite this segregation most of the times both sexes equally enjoyed sessions swimming in either baths, but still keeping males from females.The Ladies Bath (Northend Road) underwent refurbishmentand and was reopened on Friday 24th September 1937 by Alderman C Lancaster. The noticable difference having had all the old poolside changing boxes removed. A false ceiling hiding the steel girders, and ventilation systems had been installed. The pool deck was of non slip mosaic the walls glazed with tile dado to the height of the doors. The pool was 75ft X 25ft with dressing boxes in other sections.

Fulham Baths Ladies Bath refurbished 1937 - image

NO…the Ladies Bath not being demolished but reconstructed!  Courtesy of Hammersmith and Fulham Libraries 1994

 

Fulham Baths reopening in 1937 - image

Reopening in 1937  Courtesy of Hammersmith & Fulham Libraries 1994

The Mens Bath was larger 100 ft X 30 ft and the Mixed Bath larger still 120 ft x 33 ft. All of the older poolside dressing boxes were removed and housed in differents sections using th “Hyg-Gard-All” system. Depth of all pools varied between 3ft 6ins – 8ft. An “interesting innovation” was the provision of a Cafe centrally placed between the baths where bathers obtained refreshments.

The main Mens Bath was floored over on occasions for other events including being fitted out as a bowling green during 1934.

OUTCOME: After serving Fulham Community for 77 years, their beloved baths were doomed. Sieges took place inside and outside the baths for three years, including 80 years old Grandma Mrs Alice Davies who fiercely protected her “home” for near part of a year since 1979.

 

Fulham Baths Protest. Alice tries to save Fulham Baths - image

“Alice will fight the judge” Enlarge+  Courtesy of Hammersmith & Fulham Libraries 1994

 

Alice had slept on a mattress in one corner of the vast echoing building vouching that the bailiffs would have to carry her out. She led 70 protesters and changed the locks.

Her fight was for the children and old people of Fulham. Eventually Annie was to lose her battle and was evicted. She lost her final round of her long legal fight to stop Fulham and Hammersmith demolishing the baths.

Despite demolishing work beginning in 1981 Annie and other protesters continued the fight to save their beloved baths. By October 1981 the Fulham Baths site was cleared, BUT the front Grade 11 listed facade remains, and through and behind are the Dance Attic Studios.

A story of valiant vigilence

 

Fulham Baths Facade. Dance Attic behind. - image

Facade of Fulham Baths. There is “Dance Attic” behind.  Courtesy of Hammersmith & Fulham Libraries 1994

What a brave adamant lady Alice was.  Has anyone swum in the baths she was protecting.  Any more tip-offs?

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