Where were the baths and wash houses in Hull?
At least three baths were in use in Hull in the early nineteenth century: in Bond Street, in Dock Street and on the bank of the Humber. The last of these stood at a point later called Bath Place.
The Humber baths were built shortly before 1805, and included separate cold, warm and swimming baths. In 1831 there were two bathing establishments there with hot, cold, tepid and vaporised water. In 1844 the Hull Public Bath Company was formed and it constructed baths in the same locality, perhaps replacing the old ones. The company’s baths had been closed for some years before the ground was bought by the Corporation in 1866.
The Corporation first decided to provide baths in 1799. They were to be at the waterworks, but it is not known whether the plan was in fact carried out. When, however, the new waterworks were built at Stoneferry in 1845, baths were certainly included.
Although extensively used, the baths were distant from the town and in 1850 the corporation built new ones in Trippett Street. These included individual baths for men and women, vapour baths, a plunge bath for women, a swimming bath for men and a laundry. They were closed in 1903 and the building was later used as a telephone exchange.
Baths were next opened in 1885, in Madeley Street, and in 1898, in Holderness Road (the East Hull baths). The Beverley Road baths followed in 1905, with separate baths for men, women and boys and in 1908 the Newington Baths were opened in Albert Avenue, on the site of the former Newington Water Company works.
All four included slipper baths and all but those in Albert Avenue were covered baths. Electro-medical and vapour baths were added at Beverley Road in 1927, and covered baths were built at Albert Avenue in 1933.
The East Park lido was opened in 1964. A pond in the park had been used for open-air swimming before the First World War, and a second for girls was opened in the 1920s; both these fell out of use in 1949. There were also two public wash houses: one in St. Paul’s Street, together with slipper baths, opened in 1928, and one in Hessle Road, opened in 1935.
Where can I find out about the baths and bath houses?
The History Centre holds the following collections with information about baths and wash houses:
- Baths and Washhouses Committee at C TCB
- City Architectural Drawings at C TAA
- Plans and drawings within the Messrs. Hebblethwaite and Son, Land Agents collection at C DBHT