‘Stunning’ renovation of Hull’s oldest working baths reveals forgotten mosaic from ladies pool that closed in 1985
Hull’s oldest functioning bathrooms are slated to reopen in August Image: Hodson Architects
Historic elements of the Edwardian-era Beverley Road Baths have been restored and new heating and electrical systems have been installed as part of a £ 3.7 million project.
The plan also included the construction of a new larger fitness room and the restoration of the original one, the refurbishment of the roof of the swimming pool hall and the changing rooms.
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Project Architect Louise Longstaff of Hodson Architects said there were some “exciting surprises” when she discovered historic tiles that the public had not seen in 40 years.
Archive picture of the baths in March 1994
The rear ladies’ bathroom was closed in 1985 when it was converted into a technical room for a new heating and filter system.
Some of it has been regained as a gym, but “some interesting mosaic tiles” have been exposed for people to see. They also restored some “really nice” Art Nouveau tiles in the lobby.
On social media, people are congratulating those involved in the renovation and some remember learning to swim there decades ago.
Hull was the second parish to open public baths after Liverpool, and Beverley Road, which opened in May 1905, originally had three swimming pools, the largest of the three for men and two smaller pools for women and boys. The finished building was considered the “ultimate achievement of the group”.
Thanks to the renovation, the building shines back in its old splendor Image: Hodson Architects
In winter, the large pool for modern dance with ballroom dancing was roofed over in the women’s pool.
During World War II, a resident recalled how people were warned of an air raid but were given the choice of dancing or going to the bunkers.
“We just kept dancing,” she says.
Well-known band leaders performed there and Louis Armstrong entertained 300 “lovers” of the “hot” rhythm on what was perhaps his most famous music night in 1933.
Some of the reclaimed Art Nouveau tiles
A Russian steam bath added in 1927 is now an Islamic center.
The boys ‘pool and original boiler room were demolished after closure in 1985, while the ladies’ bathroom became a technical room for a new heating and filtration system as part of a £ 1.8 million renovation.
Ms. Longstaff said the project was “an absolute pleasure” and added, “It’s really interesting to talk to the locals. Everyone has memories of it.”
Gavin Barley, General Manager of Hull Esteem, who oversees the project and works at the Albert Avenue Baths, including the much anticipated reintroduction of the bathing area, said, “If the finish line is in sight now, the building will be one for many years to come make an important contribution to the health and wellbeing of the people of Hull, and we hope the public is excited about the reopening as we are.