Stalybridge Baths

Stalybridge "Old" Baths
Stalybridge Baths

From memory the “old” baths were on Corporation Street,  where Tesco’s car park is now. The architects were Henry Paull and George Robinson (who also designed The Old Baths in Ashton Under Lyne.)

The Public Baths were a gift to Stalybridge by Mr and Mrs Robert Platt.  The Foundation Stone was laid October 24, 1868, and they were opened May 7th, 1870. They cost £7,000 and Mrs Platt also presented an endowment for maintenance expenses. The Platt’s seemed like nice people from what I have read about them and they did a phenomenal amount for the their employees and for the town in general.

Stalybridge "old" Baths - Close up of the detail on the stonework over the door
Stalybridge “old” Baths – Close up of the detail on the stonework over the door

From the Stalybridge yearbook 1904 I can see there were two large swimming pools and also 20 individual private baths as most of the houses in Stalybridge at the time did not have bathrooms. In fact as late as 1980 my gran’s old terrace didn’t have a bathroom…just an outside toilet and a tin bath that could be brought inside and used on special occasions…

The chimney looks massive, apparently it was pretty scientific for its day as the smoke-shaft was constructed with a hollow chamber round the central smoke flue which ventilated the baths and swimming pools; not quite air con but pretty good for the 1800’s.

The old swimming baths were replaced by Copley Recreation Centre on Huddersfield Road and the building was then demolished.

A few quotes from a recent social media post will give you an idea of what a visit to the baths was  like. Do you remember…”having to wear a swim hat” “walking through the foot bath” “wire basket clothes hangers with a number on for your clothes”  “Swimming Galas” “Oxo and crackers” “dodgy chicken soup” “biscuits from the Market to eat on the way home”….

Please leave a comment if you have memories of Stalybridge Baths you want to share.

Stalybridge Old Baths in the distance. Photo taken from Trinity Street Bridge.
Stalybridge Old Baths in the distance. Photo taken from Trinity Street Bridge.


11 thoughts on “Stalybridge Baths

  1. cockerhill January 18, 2015 / 9:03 pm

    More on Ashton Baths – The Old Baths in Ashton Under Lyne were opened in 1870 like the Stalybridge ones. I notice that Ashton’s Baths cost £17,000 thats £10,000 over the £7,000 that the Platt’s paid for ours although Ashton’s main pool was bigger! I also noticed that from November to March Ashton’s baths were boarded over and used for skating, concerts and as a meeting room. Ashton Old Baths have just been granted lottery funding to refurbish them for future use as a business hub. Manchester Evening News 05/06/2014 

  2. Joyce Dawson February 8, 2015 / 2:25 am

    Seeing the photo of the outside of the old Stalybridge Swimming Baths (I understand now sadly demolished), brought back many long-ago memories! In 1941 as a 13 yr. old Openshaw schoolgirl evacuee, billeted in Hollingworth attending the old Hollingworth elementary school on Market St., we were taken in groups by bus for swimming lessons every so often to the Stalybridge Old Swimming baths. I really liked the experience of going and the way we were taught, but unfortunately I always had a fear of water and although they finally taught me to stay afloat, swim the length of the pool and even dive into the deep end, I was always terrified and to this day have never really been swimming again. I envy so much all the people who can enjoy such a wonderful sport. I live in Canada now and have for many a long year, but can still in my memory remember the sights, smell and sounds of those schoolday trips to Stalybridge Swimming Baths. The “good old days”, as it were!! I was hoping that an internet search would find some inside photos of the olds baths, but so far haven’t found any. Only the one showing the outside and the plaque above the entrance. There are wonderful inside photos and even video tours of the old, and now being renovated, Ashton-under-Lyne Baths.

    • Stephanie February 18, 2015 / 12:05 pm

      Hi Joyce, thanks for your comment, great to hear your memories of the baths. I’ve not got or seen any photos of the interior. I’m guessing some elements of the baths would have been similar to the Ashton-under-lyne Baths as they were designed by the same architects and built around the same time, but I’m not sure.

  3. Maureen March 23, 2015 / 3:07 am

    The original pool was then a ladies pool once the main pool at the back was built. Does anyone know what year that was built? Or may have been ungraded?

    • Stephanie April 14, 2015 / 1:51 am

      Thanks for your comment, I’ll have a check and see if anything I have confirms the date of the extension. If not hopefully someone else will know and comment here. I get the impression it was not long after the main pool was built and I understand it was also paid for by the Platt’s. Steph.

  4. Verona Bissonette September 18, 2015 / 8:42 am

    Now all became clear, many thanks for the information. You have very much helped me.

  5. Sue February 25, 2017 / 3:57 pm

    The ladies’ baths had changing cubicles each with a curtain on the long side of the pool. Besides slipper baths there was a laundry and two girls took the teachers’ hand towels for washing once a week in our lunch hour.

  6. Diana Cocker October 4, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    Do any photo’s exist of Stalybridge Baths interior. I remember being terrified as a kid running as fast as I could past all the porceline white busts along the corridor to get to the pool?

  7. sheelagh November 17, 2018 / 3:31 pm

    I remember going to the baths to have a bath in the very early 70’s and the pipes used to frighten me with all the steam coming out and you got a towel and bar of soap at the reception desk. I can even remember the women on the desk.

  8. Richard Taylor May 31, 2019 / 5:38 pm

    According to the 1911 England and Wales census, my great-grandfather worked for the Stalybridge Baths as “Public Baths, Turkish Attendant”. I would be interested in any more information about the Turkish Bath part of the Stalybridge Baths.

  9. Chris Hampson September 4, 2019 / 5:13 pm

    John Ashton’s ginger beer factory – corner of Robinson St / Thame St / Ashton Place in ~1850
    Diagonally opposite the Astley Arms.
    A large buidling is visible on the 1870 map.
    I wonder if anyone has any old photos that might show the building.
    John was a distant ancestor of my wife.

    Best wishes

    Chris Hampson

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