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Batley baths

Batley is a beautiful town and Batley baths, designed by local architect Walter Hanstock, are a most suitable adornment to it.

Cambridge Street, Batley, West Yorkshire. Opened 1893.
Listed Grade II on 11 February 1993

The baths are in the golden stone typical of the area, and their chief glory is the entrance elevation, in a late Queen Anne style with some top quality carving. There is some stained glass in the front windows, and some chunky turned wood trusses in what is now the gym. Although the baths have been altered and extended over the years, the main pool hall is still in use. The other one, slightly down hill, is now the sports hall.

Further down Cambridge Street is Market Place, an impressive agora fronted by a number of public buildings: the Town Hall (1905, by Walter Hanstock & Son, serious on the outside but with some nice art nouveau tiles inside, obscured by paint), the Carnegie Library (1906, again by Hanstock), the (former) Post Office now, alas, Roberto's Pizzeria, and Batley Central Methodist Church (the Zion Methodist Chapel, 1869, an early work by Hanstock, working with Michael Sheard). There is a nice terrace of shops, too, and a police station.

Now, as Walter Hanstock himself died in 1900 after a long battle with gout (27 years of it!), the library and town hall must be the work of his son, Arthur Walter Hanstock, who he took into practice with him in 1898. (Information from http://vivientomlinson.com/batley/p10.htm#i272). This is an interesting example of a local architectural dynasty which managed to nab many of the best jobs going in town. Hanstock designed a number of other buildings including churches and what is now Bagshaw Museum (1875, with well-preserved Victorian decoration inside apparently, but presently closed for restoration).

There are many other handsome buildings in the town, all the way from the railway station to the centre. I wish I had longer to look around!

See the list entry on Heritage Gateway.

See the Batley Baths website. (Kirklees Active Leisure)

Monday 4 August, 2008

More recent item: Queensbury pool, Bradford
Earlier item: Camberwell baths

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