Fringe Box



I Remember the Public Baths

Published on: 8 Jun, 2012
Updated on: 8 Jun, 2012

from Mark Knight

As a young lad in the late 50?s early 60?s I often stayed with my grandparents  who lived in Hill Place; literally two up, two down and one out the back. Once a week grandad and I would go off to the baths.

I think it cost 3d or 6d for a cubicle where you had control of the taps! You could buy a small bar of soap, a bath cube and hire a big white towel. Once through the door, the attendant would select an empty cubicle and fill a bath for you, from a big tap outside. If you wanted more hot water you just had to shout.

The place was very old, but spotless. No tiles on the floor – just boards which had been scrubbed white. Was always steamy and strong smell of bleach but nice and warm.

The swimming bath was just as described. I recall having to take clothes in a wire basket to a room up some steps on the far side where an attendant took the basket and gave you a rubber strap with a number.

It was always freezing up there, as was the only shower located by the side of the pool. Changing cubicles were along each side of the pool – blue doors on the entrance side for the men and pink, the ‘shower’ side for the girls!

We were taught to swim there at school. I can well remember queuing on the stone steps waiting to go in. Was an alternative to Saturday morning pictures at the weekends as well and even cheaper; no snack bar or vending machines!

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