Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Who remembers Leaf Street Public Baths?

Now one of the things I like about writing history is that you get to meet lots of people all of whom have a story to tell, but in the way that history used to be written, most of these people would have been ignored.

They did not hold great offices of state, did not engage an enemy in heroic combat and didn’t come up with some profound invention.

My history lessons at school were full of Kings and Queens, and generals as well as politicians but never about the army of cooks, maid servants or foot soldiers without whom all these noble people could not have done sterling things.

This came back to me recently when I was rereading a story on the old Chorlton Union Workhouse which had stood on the island formed by Leaf Street, Streford New Road, Nelson Street and Devonshire Street. It was replaced by the Withington Workhouse built in 1855.

And the site was taken over by the Manchester & Salford Baths and Laundries Company opened their third public baths on the site between 1858-60.

The company had been formed in 1855, and built baths in Salford, Mayfield at Ardwick and Victoria Park.  Its assets were bought by Manchester Corporation in 1877.  The company had added a Turkish bath in 1860 which was the first in a public baths in Manchester.  The Leaf Street Baths were demolished in the clearances of the 1970s and today the site is open ground.

All of which is a roundabout way of wondering if any one remembers the baths, and more importantly has stories about them?

Picture; Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, Leaf Street Public Baths, 1920, m57327 http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass


  1. Hi Andrew I swam here as often ad I could c1958-62 betwern the ages of 7 and 12. Once we could swim 25 yards and got a certificate to prove ot, we got a free pass to the baths. I used to walk here from home in Hulme Street. Cheers Susan Durden

  2. Hello Andrew my brother and I used to share a bath in leaf St baths every sat morning while my mam was doing the fam wash in the wash house, wre had no electricity and had gas mantel lighting this was in the 50s,my elderbrotner became alifeguard/attendant, and all our family 9of us all learned to swim there also we played football on the croft opposite, and regularly climbed on the baths roof to retrieve the ball. we lived in downside St almost adjacent to the wash house, left Hulme about 1962.