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Ashton Old Baths

Modern City Architecture & Urbanism

Shared By

August King

Project Name

Ashton Old Baths

Project Status



7,000 sq. feet


PlaceFirst Ltd


  • Neil Brown
  • Stephen Clewes


  • Structural Engineer: Renaissance
  • Electrical Engineer: Aecom
  • General Contractor: H.H. Smith
  • Mechanical Engineer: Aecom



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Project Description


Designed by architects Paull and Robinson, Ashton Old Baths was built in 1870 in Italianate style of architecture. Sixty per cent of the building was occupied by the main Swimming Bath. The pool was 100 feet long and 40 feet wide and was used mainly by male bathers, with a three hour period on Thursdays for ladies. There was also a second pool in the eastern, smaller section of the building measuring 27ft long and 15ft wide, solely for the use of female bathers.

During the winter months, when the main bath was closed, the smaller pool was used by men and women at different times. There were also private bathrooms and Turkish baths and part of the building was used as a police station and a station for one fire engine.

Between November and March each year, the main pool was covered over with a wooden floor, built on wooden supports placed on the bottom of the pool. The room was then used as a skating rink, concert hall and meeting room. The skating rink measured 116 by 50 feet with a raised stage area at one end. When chairs were set out, the ground floor and the spacious gallery could seat more than 4,000 people.

It served as municipal baths until the 1970s when it closed and has remained derelict ever since.

Ashton (Old) Baths is a Grade II* listed building with great significance to both the local area and English Heritage and was on the “Heritage at Risk Register” for several years (List Entry Number 1067992).

The project restores the building to its former glory, including a 21st-century business premises for start-up and early stage companies in a freestanding structure within the main pool hall.

The development, completed in February 2016, was delivered within an extremely tight time-frame and was led throughout by Modern City Architecture & Urbanism (MCAU) working in collaboration with PlaceFirst and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council (TMBC).
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