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2003: Bathed in glory

Victoria Baths

Longsight's Victoria Baths was one of 30 at-risk buildings fighting for the public's vote in the BBC's Restoration programme in the summer of 2003, with the prize of Heritage Lottery Funding at stake.

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The baths were built for the poor of inner Manchester between 1903 and 1906, and opened in September 1906 by the Lord Mayor, who described it as a "water palace" of which "every citizen of Manchester was proud".

Yet they had fallen into disrepair after the council closed the baths in 1993, in the face of much local opposition.

Who knows if it was the beautiful tiles and stained glass within or the vibrant brick façade without, but something in the Baths captured the public's imagination and 282,018 viewers voted it in as winner.

Progress on the project was slow to begin with, as the technical and bureaucratic details were hammered out, but in 2008, the first phase of the restoration was complete.

And it wasn't just the locals benefitting, as the Baths were used as a filming location for the hit BBC series Life On Mars and are continually in use as an arts venue.

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2008: The people say no
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