NIBuilder 34-3 June-July




I n this issue of NI Builder, another case study provides a glimpse into life in Belfast at the end of the 19th century. The workers at the Thompson Dry Dock, who inspired the transformation of the Pump House building into a new distillery (see page 10), may very well have joined the other “dockers” who attended Templemore Baths, in East Belfast, to wash before heading out to the dance halls on a Friday night. In this huge project led by Heron Bros, the contractors preserved and restored as much as possible of the features of the original building and built a brand-new leisure centre. A SNAPSHOT OF VICTORIAN LIFE The Templemore Baths were built between 1889 and 1892 and are the last working Victorian baths in Europe. They offered washing and sanitary facilities for the families who came to live in the city attracted by the development of the Harland and Wolff shipyard and other manufacturing industries, such as rope making, machine works and distilling. At the time, Templemore was one of the four bath houses in Belfast and, as architect Rory Rankin told NI Builder (see page 30), the city developed around those locations. These establishments were vital to the population not only for offering a well- deserved bath at the end of the week but also for providing washing facilities in an urban area at a time when cholera and other infectious diseases posed a great danger to life and health. When the Baths opened in 1893, the red brick Renaissance-style building designed originally featured separate entrances for first and second class and for men and women, who could wash in the slipper baths in cubicles or go for a swim in the first- and second-class swimming pools, with poolside THE RENOVATION OF TEMPLEMORE BATHS HAS BROUGHT OUT THE BEST OF THE OLD AND THE NEW AT A LANDMARK BUILDING TO BE ENJOYED BY THE WHOLE COMMUNITY…



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