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

Wandsworth New Baths

A Commodious Establishment to be Erected in the High Street. - Description of the Building

It is surprising that Wandsworth has not been provided with public baths long. With enterprising Battersea such a near neighbour, one would have thought that the mere spirit of emulation would have induced the Vestry to move in this direction before. Better late than never, however. The new establishment in High-street will be in every respect worthy of the district. The site is bounded on side by the river Wandle, but that source will not be used for the water supply. It will first of all be obtained from the local company; and in course of time it is very possible that an artesian well will be sunk.

The Building

The buildings have been designed by Messrs. Spalding and Cross, architects, of Queen-street, and their cost will not be less than 20,000. The style will be English Renaissance, and the front will be built of red bricks, with Portland stone dressing. The building will have a frontage of 75ft., and an average depth of 246ft. The plans provide for one first-class swimming bath 100ft. by 30ft., and one second-class bath 85ft. by 30ft. There will be six men's first-class slipper baths, and thirty second-class; the ladies will be provided with four first and eight second-class. The suite of private baths will have waiting rooms and offices attached. A spacious establishment laundry will be worked by an electric motor. The first floor will contain a board room, six rooms for superintendents, and offices.

A Gymnasium in Winter

In the winter the large baths can be floored over, and the hall thus provided used for gymnastics and public entertainments. This arrangement, which has already been adopted with success by several vestries in London, will overcome one of the greatest difficulties that has hitherto confronted bath authorities. The gymnasium at Battersea Baths, for instance, was only opened on Jan.23, but already some 6,000 persons have taken advantage of the facilities provided. Over 70 has been taken in fees. The architects have taken pains to ensure that there shall be no lack of accommodation for on-lookers. . . . . Wandsworth is rapidly increasing in population, and has become a very large centre for working men. The population is now 60,000.

Municipal Journal and London, March 31, 1899