Great Lengths

    SubTitle

    The historic indoor swimming pools of Britain
    Great Lengths large image 1
        Paperback / softback

        Publication Date

        31 Mar 2009

        Summary

        Traces the development of indoor public baths and pools, from the earliest subscription baths of the Georgian period and the first municipal baths in Liverpool in 1829, to the current generation of leisure pools with their flumes and potted palm trees.
        9920355
        9920355

        Main Summary

          Swimming is Britain’s most popular participation sport. Nearly one in four people swim at least once a month, with around 80 million visits to swimming pools recorded every year. Surprisingly, although public baths have formed a vital part of community life since an 1846 Act of Parliament, their story has never been told in book form until now. Great Lengths, the eighth book in the acclaimed Played in Britain series, traces the development of indoor public baths and pools, from the earliest subscription baths of the Georgian period and the first municipal baths in Liverpool in 1829, to the current generation of leisure pools with their flumes and potted palm trees. In both the public and private sectors the golden era of pool design fell between the 1880s and 1914, when over 600 baths were constructed, many rich in architectural detail and technological innovation. The magnificent Victoria Baths in Manchester completed in 1906 (2003 winner of BBC2 Restoration series) set new standards for opulence. Birmingham’s Balsall Heath Baths (1907), London’s Haggerston Baths (1904) and similar establishments in Hull, Nottingham and Glasgow equally reflected the civic pride of their creators, as greater awareness of hygiene and physical fitness brought safe swimming and recreation to the urban masses. A further burst of activity between the wars saw a new generation of concrete and glass Art Deco baths and in the 1960s these were joined by classic Modern designs. Great Lengths is no mere exercise in nostalgia. Scores of Victorian and Edwardian baths have been allowed to deteriorate. Dozens remain closed and the subject of long running campaigns for restoration. Yet many modern baths built in the late 20th century have also been found wanting. For this reason, this book will serve as an important reference for anyone involved in the current debate, whether as swimmers or providers.

          Additional Information

          Series

          Played in Britain

          Author

          Ian Gordon
          Simon Inglis

          Publishing Status

          Active

          Size

          210mm

          Number of Illustrations

          300

          Number of Pages

          292

          ISBN

          9781905624522

          Contents

            Foreword by Rebecca Adlington

            Introduction by Keith Ashton

            Great Lengths

            Before 1846

            1846-1870

            1870-1901

            1901-1918

            1918-1945

            1945-1970

            Post 1970

            Adaptive Re-use

            Conclusions

            Directory

            Links and Credits

            Index

            Postscript by Dr Ian Gordon

            Reviews

              "Elegantly written and beautifully illustrated, Great Lengths evokes the power of historic pools to create a sense of community"
              'Impeccably researched, beautifully produced and sumptuously illustrated, this paean to a popular pleasure deserves high praise.'
              "Wonderfully evocative, hugely informative and entertaining illustrated history of 'the provision of facilities for swimming' with a resonance far beyond the architecture of 'the baths' into the very heart of Britain's social and cultural history."
              'There are many reasons why [this book is] worth buying. First, and simplest, it's the 13th in the English Heritage Played in Britain series, all of which are superb. All working to the broad remit of tracing Britain's sporting and recreational heritage, the books are full of warm nostalgia, but in a serious, meaty way: absorbing detail and fascinating social history. Second, with Great Lengths, authors Dr Ian Gordon and series editor Simon Inglis pull off the usual Played in Britain trick - luring you into their world and making you care as much as they do about something to which you'd barely given a thought before. And third, the quality of the photography is superb.'