Building Name

Public Baths, Collier Street, Greengate, Salford

1855 - 1856
Collier Street
Greengate, Salford
GMCA, England
Manchester and Salford Baths and Laundries Company
New Build

SALFORD BATHS AND LAUNDRIES. These neat and commodious baths and laundries are so far advanced towards completion that it will not be premature to give some description of them. They are situated in Collier-Street, Greengate, Salford, and are erected by the "Manchester and Salford Baths and Laundries Company," which, au inscription on the front of the building states, was incorporated in 1855. The site of the building is where stood the Salford Old Workhouse, now demolished and numbered with the things of the past, its place being occupied by what is regarded by sanitary reformers as an establishment for lessening the need for pauper houses, by promoting personal cleanliness and all the temporal advantages which are likely to result from the practice of the virtue which the proverb says is " next to godliness." The building erected for the Salford Baths and Laundries is a neat and commodious structure of brick and stone, tasteful in its design, and well adapted to its purpose, the ornamentation being simple and effective, often serving economical use in the object of the building, and consequently inexpensive. The architect is Mr Thomas Worthington, King Street, Manchester; and the contractor, Councillor Neill, Strangeways. The facade of the building, which is in Collier Street, presents a length of frontage of perhaps 140 feet, and is two storeys high, the centre rising an additional storey. The style of architecture is Italian, adapted to the wants of the 19th century, which is the most useful and beautiful style for street architecture that we possess, and are likely to have until Mr. Ruskin leaves off finding fault with our architects and their productions, and gives to the world a new order. There are various entrances to the building, and the inscriptions cut in the stone headings indicate their purposes, and will be guide to the bathers and washers, and promote order and decency. The first and widest doorway is headed "Washhouse Entrance," and over other doors are "Men's First-class Baths," "Superintendent's Entrance," " Men's Second-class Baths," and “Women's Baths." On stone shields at either end are the Manchester and Salford arms and mottos, with the name of the company. The building was commenced in November, and is expected to be publicly opened in August, and considering the extent of the premises, and the vast amount of work in fitting up, the progress made is remarkable, for the work throughout is of a good and substantial character. Let us enter and take look at the internal arrangements for washers and bathers. There is first a suite of rooms at the front, on the ground floor, to be used as waiting and reading-rooms, etc, for both classes and sexes, also a superintendent's office, commanding a view of all who pass in and out, as well as of the large swimming baths. There are two large plunge or swimming baths for first and second class bathers, and fitted up with more or less taste and conveniences, according to price; necessary comfort and accommodation being found even in the cheapest. These large swimming baths we will venture to say are equal to any in London, and possess some points of novelty in arrangement which are worthy of notice. In the first place there are room and light, the two chief requisites, in abundance; room, both the great height of the glazed roof, which is at the extreme height of the building, and in the dressing boxes. The two swimming baths are uniform so far, and also in possessing a novelty of arrangement which economises room, at the same time that it improves the appearance. This consists in a double storey, the upper one, which is reached by light iron staircases, being devoted to private baths, with an outer gallery overlooking the plunge bath, so that those who merely wish to have a private bath will yet enjoy a bird's eye view of the swimmers sporting below. The roofs of the swimming baths are arched and glazed, and though of great strength, have a light and agreeable appearance. The ventilation is as well provided for as it ought to be in such places, both for the exit of damp and foul air, and the admission of fresh cold air, or warm when necessary. One other point is worthy of notice in the best swimming bath, namely, the decorative tile work with which the sides of the bath are lined. These tiles are six inches square, made of white porcelain, by Mr. John Finch, of Hanover Chambers, Buckingham Street, Adelphi, London, who has superintended their fixture. A good effect is produced by the introduction of a decorative border of coloured tiles round the top of the bath, termed "Grecian fret," the pattern being in white and mazarine blue. The sides of the bath are paved with these smooth, clean tiles, to the bottom, relief being given to the white surface by the blue " dowels" or knobs, at the intersecting corners of each square of four tiles, and these " dowels" also serve to fix the tiles in a simple and ingenious manner. The galleries are supported by cast iron pillars, which are hollow, and serve as conduits for the waste water from the private baths. Similar instances might be mentioned of the combination of ornament and useful contrivance evinced in the construction of these baths, and the fact is the more satisfactory because this company is to erect more extensive baths on the same plan in Manchester and Salford. The private baths are of the newest construction, namely, Messrs Rufford and Finch's " Patent Porcelain Baths," the peculiarity of which is that they are made in one piece, like an enormous oblong basin, and are much more lasting and sound than when pieced. Messrs Rufford and Finch have supplied 53 of these patent porcelain baths for this establishment, three qualities, one a marble porcelain surface, another white porcelain surface, and the third kind brown. Their dimensions are 5 feet 6in. long, with a length of 6 feet 1 inch, including the slope at the head of the bath, 2ft. 6 inches wide at the shoulders, 2 feet wide at the foot, and 1 foot 11 inches deep. The sides and bottom of the bath are 2½ inches. thick. This superior description of bath is due to a suggestion made by his Royal Highness Prince Albert to the Society of Arts, who proposed the giving of a prize for the best, which was awarded to Messrs. Rufford and Finch.

In the washing department there will be thirty-eight washing tubs, thirty-six being of the first class. Each first-class washer will have three tubs for boiling, washing and rinsing, and each second-class washer two tubs; and each washer will have separate drying horse. The "desiccating" apparatus, for drying the clothes, will be used, and the moisture will be partially removed by a patent "hydro-extractor," on the centrifugal principle, so that the process of drying, usually so tedious will be very expeditious. At the back of the wash-house is the boiler-house, in which are three boilers for heating the water thirty feet long and five feet diameter; and there will be large tank twenty feet above the level of the floor for supplying the water. There is a neat square tower or shaft for carrying off smoke and vapour, the latter being discharged at loggia at the sides, near the top. All the rooms in the interior of the building will be well lighted with gas, so that the poor people can get a wash or bath at all reasonable hours, in winter as well as summer. We are sure this establishment will prove a great convenience to the district; and there can be little doubt that it will ultimately be remunerative. A larger block of buildings, for similar purpose, is being erected near the Mayfield Print Works, Manchester. Such establishments are much needed in Manchester and Salford, and we are sure the working classes will be as grateful for their erection as they will be benefited by their use. The prices for the Salford establishment are not yet fixed, but it is intended that they shall be so moderate to make it as extensively useful as possible. [Manchester Courier 26 July 1856 page 9]

MANCHESTER AND SALFORD BATHS - The annual meeting of the directors and shareholders of the Manchester and Salford Baths and Laundries Company was held at the Town Hall, King-street, on Wednesday morning, Alderman Neild, chairman of the board of directors, presiding.  …… Mr. Hugh Fleming, the secretary, read the first report of the directors to the shareholders, which gave a favourable account of the establishment of the first of the baths intended to be erected Manchester and Salford by this company. The land for the baths in Greengate cost £3,050, less £921 for old materials. Mr. Thomas Worthington was the architect, and Mr. Robert Neill, contractor, whose tender was for £4,943. The iron work, etc, by Messrs. Melling and Son, cost £1,820 extra. The directors were sanguine of a return for the outlay, the receipts during the short time the baths, had been open, having been most encouraging. A plot of land had been purchased in Mayfield for another establishment, of which Mr. Worthington would also be the architect, and Mr. Neill contractor. Land for a third establishment had been bought near Stretford road. The proposed capital of the company was £35,000 in 7,000 shares of £5 each, of which number only 4,541 had been subscribed for, and the directors trust that the whole of the capital would soon be raised, the advantages of such establishments being admitted great, and a fair return for outlay pretty certain. [Manchester Courier 10 January 1857 page 9]

Reference    Pass: Thomas Worthington
Reference    Manchester Guardian 6 October 1855 Page 7
Reference    Manchester Guardian 27 October 1855 Page 6 - contracts for steam boilers
Reference    Manchester Guardian 26 April 1856 page 6 contracts
Reference    Manchester Guardian 3 May 1856 page 6 – contracts
Reference    Manchester Courier 26 July 1856 page 9
Reference    Builder 2 August 1856 page 428
Reference    Builder 6 September 1856 page 486 - opened last week
Reference    Manchester Courier 10 January 1857 page 9