Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Hyde Baths

I was asked recently if I knew when Hyde Swimming Baths were closed down and the buildings demolished and although I used to go there regularly I couldn't actually remember when this was. I believe it was around 1984-ish but not 100% sure . I would be grateful if anyone could actually tell me the precise date.

hyde baths Pictures, Images and Photos

I know the Baths were opened on  May 4th 1889.
I also know that the Leisure Pool on Walker Lane was originally built in June 1988 and has undergone various refurbishments over the past 25 years.

Aeriel view of the Leisure centre taken a few years ago.

The distictive red stand of Hyde United (now Hyde FC) can be seen top left. This is now dark blue .
Walker Lane runs along the bottom of the picture. The road to the right is Grange Road North or, as it used to be known, Fairbrother Street !
The field to the right used to be known as "Charlie Barbers Field".

Charlie Barbers Field was opposite the leisure pool on the other side of Walker Lane - where Leigh Primary now stands !
Thanks Bill :)

Map courtesy of Bing maps.


Anonymous said...

The field to the right was originally owned by ICI (Rexine),it was where the carnival was held to raise money for young Alan Dawson who lost his fingers by touching an electric fire--I think.

Bill Lancashire said...

Charlie Barber's was actually on the other side of Walker Lane, where the new Leigh School now stands.

jenny roberts said...

I found a web site by the MEN/Advertiser saying the baths closed in 1984
I have long memories of Hyde baths. Even though we lived in Mottram, I had swimming lessons there and went regularly every week and every school holiday.

Hydonian said...

Thanks Bill. My dad is getting confused, I think ;)

Werneth Low said...

I'm sure you're right that the baths in Union Street closed in 1984. Fond memories of it though. Learned to swim there in the 50s with Mrs Hall - no arm bands then, you were pulled across the width of the pool with a belt round your waist with rope attached which she held. Probably wouldnt be allowed to do that now!

Dave B said...

Yes werneth, I remember her as Miss Hall,headmistress in the early sixties (stern but fair) dragging me across the pool with that rope..ha. If you did'nt attempt to move your arms or legs tension on the rope was slackened just enough for your face to go under after which you'd be gulping water and chlorine.
This method usually did the trick and you had your breadth certificate in no time. No daft politically correct way of doing things then, it really was sink or swim...good days!

Anonymous said...

Barry in Oz. I remember Mrs Hall and that belt only too well. She had me breast stroking across the pool with it on me thinking that she was pulling it then I looked up and saw that she had dropped the rope, I immediately sank. It's all in the mind eh ? I used to go and watch my dad play football for the ICI team every other saturday at the ICI (Rexine) ground, I can still smell the Dubbin and linament even now, almost 60 years later.

Kevin said...

Mrs Hall used to instruct our primary school class on Thursday afternoons during the sixties. No messing about or else you got the sharp edge of her tongue! Trying to dive down and get the 'brick' which I could never manage.
It was Mr.Laycock who actually taught me to swim, again with the old rope method.On reading previous posts about the baths, I discovered that he was a champion swimmer during the twenties or thirties for Ireland if I'm not mistaken.

Werneth Low said...

Dave I don't think our teachers were one and the same. Mine was definitely Mrs Hall and she sounds like the lady Kevin had. She was cruel! I remember learning to dive from the poolside and we each went in turn but if you hesitated she shouted at you. I've never been a confident diver - wonder why?!

Anonymous said...

i remember trying to learn to swim there in the 60's during lessons from leigh street school. i was scared and eventually managed to swim a length.
i was even more scared when we were taken up stairs and told to jump in or we'd be pushed. i refused and the experience put me off going swimmimg again until i was 23 years old. i went in the evenings after work and i was determined to learn to swim in a nicer environment at the same baths. i eventually took my own children as soon as they old enough.
eileen from bolton

Dave B said...

Found a picture of her Werneth on the Blog...Label Enfield (Not Enfield Street) posted by Tom on Sat.25th Sept under heading 'Enfield Street school photo's'
First picture and she is on the right, white top,short black hair.(I remember her with glasses) On the left the lady in the checked clothing I think was the headmistress at the time this picture was taken. Maybe Mrs/Miss Hall was just a teacher at this point and got promotion later on and mellowed later on also by the sound of it!

tigerboy said...

Well done Eileen on conquering your fear after such a unhappy experiance

I remember walking to Hyde baths in the afternoons from Hyde Grammar and having swimming lessons

I use to have to swin in pyjama's and dive for a rubber brick think it was for some sort of award think they went Bronze Silver and Gold I think I only managed to get Bronze

Eileen I remember the Balcony where some changing cubicle where. Is that where they asked you to jump from? because think I would have refused to do that!

When ever I am back in hyde and drive past the old baths site I am amazed that the site seems such a small area to have had such a building on it

Werneth Low said...

Dave I'm sure it isn't the same teacher as Mrs Hall taught all school classes at the baths, along with private lessons, so she wouldn't have had time to teach in school as well. The photo of the claSs at Enfield Street on the blog isn't the Mrs Hall I knew as this lady is much younger.

Like you, I'm always in disbelief when I drive along Union Street and see the small area where the baths stood. I thought it was a massive building when I was young. I guess that's because when you're little everything looks big! It's for that same reason that I think Market Street has also shrunk!

Dave B said...

Now it all makes sense Werneth, there were two of them! Miss Hall the teacher who eventually became headmistress at Enfield St. school and Mrs Hall who worked perhaps full time at Hyde Baths. Coincidental how they both used the same technique to teach kids to swim by forcibly dragging them through the water on a rope. Perhaps they should have spelt their surnames as 'Haul' which would have given us all a clue!

peter Hampson said...

I have very fond memories of Hyde baths, our school bradley green,all swam in our pygama, i also remember the chocolate bar vending machine that sold a chocolate bar called bar six, the hair drying machine that consisted of just a tube. Then the drinks vending that sold a wonderful chicken soup,

Anonymous said...

I played my first football game for my primary school on Charlie Barber fields, opposite the Leisure centre in 1969. Leisure centre wasn't there at the time. Found lots of photos of the Leisure centre but never ever come across a photo of Charlie Barber fields. Would love to see an old photo sometime

Jayne Daulby said...

Hi, My Mum used to tell me stories of going to the "Russian" Baths at Hyde baths with a steam room and hot fluffy towels would have been in 1950's

Anonymous said...

I remember that chicken soup.