Wandsworth Public Baths and Washouses Acts were adopted by the Vestry of the Parish of Wandsworth on the 26th November 1897.
The foundation stone was laid in St James Yard, HighStreet by the Right Honourable A.J.Newton, Bart, – Lord Mayor of London on 6th October 1900.
Wandsworth Baths made rapid progress in order that they may be ready for summer.
The Baths were officially opened by the Mayor of Wandsworth on the 6th July, when an enterainment of swimming competitions were given in the presence of a large number of spectators. The Baths opened to the public 2 days later on the 8th and attracted and used by an average number of an outstanding 4,150 bathers a week!
The First Class Swimming Bath was 100ft long by 30ft wide. 60 dressing boxes lined the walls but could be folded away against the walls. There was a gallery constructed around the pool and took 300 spectators.
The second Class Bath was 85ft long and 30ft wide and had 72 dressing boxes.
The water was taken from from the water company’s mains which also fed a large tank over the laundry. Also an Artesian well was sunk at the rear of the building to provide the baths with sufficient water. The Baths were lighted “by electricity throughout ” also having emergency generators. The Architects were Messrs Spalding & Spalding, and the builder was Mr Walter Wallis.
OUTCOME: Wandsworth Public Baths, having had a good life survived for 68 years when more and more Leisure Centres were being built in and around the region replacing older baths.
Wandsworth Baths were demolished in 1968 to make way for the Arndale Shopping Centre then to be further developed into Southside Shopping Centre. I don’t think there is scrap of evidence left depicting the wonderful architecture of the day.
More interesting reading: Wandsworth is featured in Baths and Washhouses