DSCI1378To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of winning the first BBC2 Restoration series, the Gala Pool has been filled again with (very cold) water for a few days. BBC filmed the new Building Officer Chris Hardman bravely diving in – maybe his name should be Hardyman!


See also BBC News item which has a short film clip.

Leeds City Council hand over the keys to the Friends of Bramley Baths

Leeds City Council hand over the keys to the Friends of Bramley Baths

Congratulations to the Friends of Bramley Baths who have just taken over the running of Bramley Baths.

Bramley Baths opened on 17th October 1904 and was designed by architect J Lane Fox at a cost of £10,000. The baths closed in 1988 and most people expected it to be demolished. But Bramley councillors and local residents did not give up. A grant of £1.5m was attained from the Sports Council and the baths reopened in 1992. It was given Grade II listing in 1996. (From “Great Lengths” by Dr Ian Gordon & Simon Inglis).

In 2012 Leeds City Council invited expressions of interest in a community asset transfer of Bramley Baths. The Friends of Bramley Baths proposed a community-led initiative that was accepted by the Council.

Here’s what the Friends have to say:

Statement of purpose

The purpose of Bramley Baths is to:

  1. Act as a social hub for the benefit of the community
  2. Provide a centre for fitness, fun and well being
  3. Enable people to swim and to learn how to swim
  4. Preserve a historic treasure and a local asset

Our Vision for the future

Our vision is to become a long term viable community enterprise strengthening community spirit and acting as the driving force for new community initiatives in Bramley.

We will develop Bramley Baths into a well branded top class affordable attraction providing leisure, fitness and education for all available when people want to use it.

As an employer we will provide a good experience for our employees.

Key Long Term Aims

Over the next 5 years we will

  1. Develop the baths in to a viable sustainable enterprise with a business model appropriate to a community venture including ensuring that it is well  run, effectively marketed and appropriately branded.
  2. Develop Bramley Baths into a top class affordable attraction providing leisure, fitness and education for all and available when people want to use it.
  3. Build strong effective relationships with the community and act as a catalyst for community initiatives in Bramley.
  4. Create a good working environment for employees with appropriate policies procedures and practice.

More details from their website

Louise Minchin

VB was visited by BBC’s Celebrity Antiques Road Trip recently. You can see the 4 minute clip here.

NB: clip no longer available, much to the relief of VB Building Officer Neil Bonner whose accent moved a couple of hundred miles southwards on meeting Ms. Minchin!

VB stall

VB stall at the Art & Craft Fair

Victoria Baths have their own stall at the First Art & Craft Fair tomorrow – details here

This would be a great place to look for Christmas presents.

Some of the VB items for sale

VB volunteer Dionne has made a number of high quality items inspired by aspects of the building such as the tiles and the stained glass windows, including wrapping paper and gift tags.

Examples of how you can use the VB wrapping paper and gift tags

There are a large number of other stalls so you should be able to find that special present you are looking for. For example former VB History Group volunteer Katy has booked her own stall which will include this beautiful rocking horse:

Katy and Neddy

Yu-Chen’s new book (seen on the aeratone control panel at VB)

Yu-Chen came back to Manchester to launch her new book “The Song of the Machines” at the Chinese Arts Centre on 25th October.

The book is a collection of pieces from her various projects, including “The Splash and A Last Drop” which was performed at VB in May 2011.

Aeratone Scene in “The Splash and A Last Drop”

The performance was written in collaboration with freelance radio producer, broadcaster and journalist Bob Dickinson.

At the book launch, Bob gave a presentation on the background to the story:

Bob Dickinson introduces the background to the story with a slide showing the front of Victoria Baths

He also gave many facts and figures relating to Manchester linked to the story line, which is reproduced in full in the book.


Victoria Baths is to host its very first Art and Craft Makers Fair at its Open Day on the 4th November 2012.

The event aims to celebrate the strength of contemporary arts and traditional crafts being made in Manchester and around the UK, while also raising vital funds for the baths’ stained glass window appeal. It will give established and new craft makers, designers and artists the opportunity to showcase their creations and sell to the public during the run up to Christmas.

Stallholders will be offered a table 5 or 6 feet long by 2 feet 6 inches wide in exchange for the £24 fee. Wall space for displaying work is also available at no extra charge, but subject to availability.

“We’re delighted to be offering such an opportunity to crafts people who often find it difficult to get their work seen, not only this but money raised from this event will go towards our stained glass appeal which aims to replace one of the building’s unique stained glass windows.”

If you are interested in becoming a stallholder, please visit the website where you can download a stall booking form.  Alternatively contact Gill Wright on 0161 224 2020


Further details of the event are here

Viewing the pipes under the Turkish Baths

Mark Watson (red jacket) was assisted by Neil Bonner (blue jacket) in giving members a tour and explanation of the original workings of the water heating and distribution system after the Friends of Victoria Baths meeting.

Members got to see parts of the building usually closed to visitors, including the area under the second class males section of the baths, used for filming a scene in “Life on Mars”, below: