Saturday free for all at threatened Bradford pool

Swimmers will have the opportunity to step back in time on Saturday at Bradford’s historic Manningham pool when the The Victorian Society offers them a chance to swim for free.

‘It is a remarkable experience to swim in Manningham Baths’, said Dr Ian Dungavell, Director of the The Victorian Society. ‘Nowhere else do you really get the feeling you’re swimming in an Edwardian pool. I’ve swum in historic baths all around the country, and this is the most important pool of its type. Bradford Council must find a way to keep this important part of our heritage open and in use.’

The pool is set to close at any moment as part of Bradford Council’s £30 million cuts package, but its closure will only save £120,000. No date has been announced, but closure is thought to be imminent. This may be one of the last opportunities the people of Bradford will have to swim in a pool which has served them well for over 106 years. Once closed it is unlikely ever to re-open.

Manningham Baths were designed by Bradford City architect, Frederick Edwards and opened in 1904. The building is remarkably intact and still has its original changing cubicles around the pool, and the pool itself still has a so-called scum channel down each side with spittoons at regular intervals.

In July 2008 Dr Dungavell swam 104 lengths of Manningham Baths to commemorate its 104 years as a public swimming pool, as part of a campaign to celebrate historic pools around the country.

Swim free for all is on at Manningham Pool, Carlisle Road, Bradford BD8 8BA on Saturday 9 April 2011, from 12.15 to 2.15pm. Free offer is limited to first 100 people to turn up. Swimmers must abide by Bradford Council’s regulations and swimmers’ code of conduct at all times.

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