Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Leaf Street Baths in Hulme .............what was lost has been found ............ if just for a short time

Open to the sunlight again .............. the pool, 2016
I am always fascinated when a bit of our collective history is found.

In this case it is the pool of the Leaf Street Baths in Hulme which vanished during the clearance programmes of the 1970s.

It is place I have written about before *and features in the series on our Public Baths.**

To be honest my path to Leaf Street Baths had been via the old workhouse which had been established by the Chorlton Union in the 1830s and which within two decades had been replaced by the bigger and more impressive workhouse in Withington.

Leaf Street Baths, 1920
So in the course of the research I came across  the Manchester & Salford Baths and Laundries Company which opened Leaf Street in 1860.

This  was their third public bath house since the company had been formed in 1855, and it 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.

Tiles unseen for nearly half a century
Well it is open ground but not for long because there are plans to build here and that takes me to these two pictures of the uncovered baths which were taken by Ian Wilson.

I had no idea that just below the surface bits of those baths were still there or that they would be uncovered.
When Ian posted the pictures on facebook they brought forth quite a few memories from people who had learned to swim there and I suppose for them as much as for me seeing the pool open to the sunlight again is quite wonderful.

Entrance, 1920
All of which just leaves me to suggest you take a visit down there before they vanish again.***

Location; Leaf Street, Hulme

Pictures; Leaf Street Baths, 2016, from the collection of Ian Wilson, and Leaf Street Public Baths, 1920, m57327 and entrance m57328, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass

*Leaf Street Swimming Baths, the first of a set of stories, http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/leaf-street-swimming-baths-first-of-set.html

**Manchester and Salford's Public Baths, http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Manchester%20and%20Salford%27s%20Public%20Baths 

***170 new homes expected to be built in Hulme, Bell, Alex MEN, August 3 2015, http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/business/170-new-homes-expected-built-9780001

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