Victorian London - Health and Hygiene - Baths and Bathing - Shoreditch Baths

Shoreditch has scored again. To-morrow (Saturday) afternoon the Vestry opens it new baths and washhouses. Not that there is anything very remarkable in that, in view of enterprise of the same kind all over London. But one section of the new institution in Shoreditch represents an important innovation. The first-class swimming bath is a model in its way. It contains new features that place it in the front of every other swimming bath in London.

Swimming Matches and Gate Money

Having had the advantage of a practical swimmer as its chairman, the Baths Committee have considered a number of important points which are usually overlooked in buildings of this character. Mr. E.J.Wakeling, the chairman in question, who was chairman of the Vestry in the Jubilee Year, has secured the recognition of the principle that public baths should consider the spectator as well as the swimmer. Swimming entertainments are always popular, and with the increase in swimming baths, they are bound to become more popular every year; but how seldom can any number of spectators witness a display in the water with any comfort? The accommodation for the public is generally inadequate. Shoreditch, however, has taken the lead in making very extensive provision for the public. Instead of contenting themselves with the usual narrow gallery round three sides of the building they have constructed two wide galleries right and left, and built a set-back gallery at one end. As our illustrations show, the place combines the advantages of a public hall with that of a commodious swimming bath. . . . In addition to the first-class swimming bath which is 100ft. long by 40ft. wide, there is a second-class bath for which 2d. will be charged, as against 6d. for the other.

Municipal Journal and London, March 17, 1899