Cleveland Pools, Bath
Project to save the oldest outdoor swimming pool in Britain.
This Grade II* listed site holds the oldest surviving open-air public swimming pools in Britain. The pools, which first opened in 1815, are in the shape of a Georgian crescent and include a central cottage with two wings of changing cubicles. A remnant of the social history of outdoor swimming in Britain, the site is unique on a national level. The pools remained popular until their closure in 1984 – since then they have become deserted, neglected and in need of urgent help.
The pools were saved by Cleveland Pools Trust (CPT), a community group that successfully convinced the council not to sell the site. CPT’s vision is for the pools to be restored for swimming, with naturally treated warm water, creating a public facility not currently available in the area. Such a project would also provide a unique resource for local education in history, natural sciences and skills training.
Our involvement with CPT began in 2007 and included forming a steering group which brought together all the stakeholders. We provided guidance on funding options and governance and supported CPT to secure funding from English Heritage for urgent repair works. We also worked with them on an options appraisal, a business plan, a survey to check restoring the pools would be possible, an environment survey and a tree survey.
Earlier this year the Heritage Lottery Fund advised us that areas of the proposed project still need to be developed, such as governance, plans on how to access capital funding and local council involvement.
Since summer 2013 we have been supporting CPT to resolve these issues. For example we assisted CPT in their first fundraising appeal launch which Sharron Davies (who has joined us as an ambassador specifically for Cleveland Pools) and Donald Foster MP.