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Bramley Baths needs keen swimmers say Victorian Society
Bramley Baths
The bath's chimney is still a local landmark

A national heritage group is urging people to go swimming at Bramley Baths.

It's the message from the Victorian Society, a charity campaigning for the Victorian and Edwardian historic environment.

The society wants people to demonstrate if this Edwardian pool is important to the city.

Leeds City Council proposes to reduce the opening hours at the Grade II-listed baths on Broad Lane in Bramley as part of budget reductions.

The Director of the Victorian Society, Dr Ian Dungavell, said: "Now is the time to become a regular swimmer at Bramley Baths.

"The next couple of years are going to be crucial in the life of this pool. The council will be looking to make more savings and the attendance figures for Bramley Baths must be high if it is going to survive."

Handsome building

Bramley Baths pic: Leodis
The ornate entrance to the baths seen in an old picture

Back in 2008 Dr Dungavell swam 104 lengths at Bramley Baths, one for every year it had then been open.

He described it as an 'handsome building' on the society's website.

The building's facade is decorated with the city's coat of arms and was designed by the architect J. Lane Fox. The baths were opened in October 1904 and re-opened after refurbishment in April 1992, as three local councillors arrived by horse and carriage wearing historic costume.

Bramley has the last survivor of eight public baths built in Leeds between 1899 and 1904. Nationwide only 14 Victorian and Edwardian pools remain in use and open for swimming.

However council figures show the number of swimmers using Bramley baths has dropped by almost a third since the Armley Leisure Centre opened in 2010.

Rare survivor

Bramley Baths
There are lots of original features around the pool

Dr Dungavell said: "We are delighted that the council has so far shown a commitment to this historic pool by keeping it open, albeit on reduced hours, when two other pools in Leeds will close as part of the cuts.

"But Bramley Baths desperately needs support and regular swimmers, to demonstrate to the City Council that this rare survivor is valued."

Bramley Baths will reduce its opening hours to 29 hours a week in September 2011.

Increasingly expensive

Other council proposals will see East Leeds leisure centre close at the end of March along with the pool at Middleton leisure centre in September. Garforth squash and leisure centre will also reduce its opening hours in April.

The council claim these four sites are proving increasingly expensive to run and maintain and have seen a decline in customer use.

Following a reduction in funding under the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review Leeds City Council needs to reduce spending by around £50m in 2011/12 with further cuts in the following three years.

Historian's pool challenge
24 Jul 08 |  England


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