City Baths

Original post 28 Jan 2018:

#MelbourneCityBaths, 1902-4, design by #JJClark with his son #EJClarke. Delightful #redbrick stripy Edwardian (“#bloodandbandages”), with #EnglishBaroque details, and Clark’s favoured Tudory #turrets and #domes. JJ’s first design was the old treasury building 42 years previously when he was just 19. Great plan, filling the triangular site. Note the rooms at the front with actual baths in them; this wasn’t built only for swimming, but to provide facilities for people to have a comfortable hot bath in a period when people (especially in nearby low rent Carlton and the even lower rent ‘slums’ of little Lon) didn’t have bathrooms. It was nearly lost in the 70s, but the fight was on, and the BLF put a black ban on it c1972 (apparently) and it was restored instead in 1981-83, adding a gym and squash courts etc just in time for the #aerobics craze. Restoration was by Kevin Greenhatch and Gunn Williams Fender, and won an Institute award for ‘Recycling a Public Building’ in 1984 (restoration awards only started in 1982). They kept a few of the baths for historical reasons, now they’re part of a #dayspa, of course. The stairs were rebuilt differently, originally further apart to provide separate entrances for men and women (who got the smaller pool). Bath photo from their website. Photo of men’s pool by #RennieEllis from the 80s.

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