The “superb” renovation of the oldest working baths in Hull reveals a forgotten mosaic of the women’s pool which closed in 1985



Hull's oldest working baths are slated to reopen in August Photo: Hodson Architects
Hull’s oldest working baths are slated to reopen in August Photo: Hodson Architects

The historic features of the Grade II listed Edwardian Baths on Beverley Road have been restored and new heating and electrical systems installed as part of a £ 3.7million scheme.

The project also included the construction of a new and larger sports hall and the restoration of the original one, the renovation of the roof of the billiard hall and the changing rooms.

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Project architect Louise Longstaff, of Hodson Architects, said there were “exciting surprises” when they discovered a historic tile, which the public had not seen for 40 years.

Archive photo of the baths in March 1994

The ladies’ bath aft closed in 1985 when it was transformed into a technical room for a new heating and filtration system.

Part of it was salvaged as a gym, but “some interesting mosaic tiles” were left uncovered there for people to see. They also restored “quite beautiful” Art Nouveau tiling in the lobby.

On social media, people praised those involved in the renovation, with some recalling how they learned to swim there decades ago.

Hull was the second local authority after Liverpool to open public baths and Beverley Road, which opened in May 1905, originally had three swimming pools, the largest of the three for men, and two smaller for women and the boys. The finished building was considered the “supreme achievement of the Society”.

The renovation saw the building restored to its former glory Photo: Hodson Architects

During winters the large pool was covered for modern dancing with ballroom dances on the women’s pool.

During World War II, a local recalled how people were warned that an airstrike was over their heads, but were given a choice to stay dancing or head for the shelters.

“We always used to keep dancing,” she said.

Well-known conductors have performed there, with Louis Armstrong entertaining 300 “hot” rhythm “lovers” at his perhaps most famous musical evening of 1933.

Part of the Art Nouveau tiling which has been renovated

A Russian steam room, added in 1927, is now an Islamic center.

The boys ‘pool and the original boiler room were demolished after they closed in 1985, while the ladies’ bath became a technical room for a new heating and filtration system as part of a renovation of 1.8 M £.

Ms Longstaff said the project had been “absolute fun”, adding: “It’s really interesting talking to the locals. Everyone has memories of it.”

Gavin Barley, Managing Director of Hull Esteem, which is overseeing the project and carrying out work on the Albert Avenue Baths, including the much anticipated reintroduction of the lido, said: “With the finish line in sight, the building will play an important role in the health and well-being of Hull residents for many years to come, and we hope the public is as excited as we are for its reopening. “



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