The charitable organisation, Historic Pools of Britain, was established in 2015 to raise the profile of swimming pools of outstanding architectural significance including pools of the Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and Modern Movement periods.
HPB sets out to work with members, communities, supporters and the media to protect surviving historic pools, acting also as a lobbying force for the sector.
With a considerable number of historic gems already lost, the organisation gives a collective voice to the nation’s water palaces. The organisation welcomes all pre-1945 pools, and those later pools of historical significance.
Collaboration and collective passion have become watch words for Historic Pools of Britain and all those who support it. The restoration and re-opening of pools in South Wales, Brighton and Newcastle was met with a hugely positive response from the public.
Many historic pools that have community-driven campaigns behind them are fortunate, but not all are in this position. Some pools are in very fragile and vulnerable positions; neglected for many years, these were once thriving community spaces.
Supporters of the group and its work, the Swimming Pool Scene were very sad to learn that, after a relatively short illness with cancer, Gill Wright, founder of Historic Pools of Britain (HPB) had died.
A former winner of the UK Pool & Spa Awards, Special Achievement Award, Gill spent years supporting and working for Manchester’s Victoria Baths.
Seeing more and more historic gems around the country being lost and growing number of community campaigns to save pools that were under threat and knowing how important they are to our communities and heritage, Gill believed there was a great deal to be gained by historic pools joining forces, sharing insight, supporting each other and celebrating their important role to the nation’s heritage. So in 2015 she formed the Historic Pools of Britain.
Reflecting Gill’s own spirit within Historic Pools of Britain is a warm sense of community, friendship and support, as any who have attended a HPB event will know. These qualities are something that will always remain at the heart of the organisation ensuring that Gill’s ethos and inspiration lives on.
One of the latest of 26 historic pools to be put in the spotlight by HPB, Carlisle Public Baths opened in 1909, one of only 12 original public Turkish Baths still operating.
A new facility means the proposed closing of the three pools that make up Carlisle Public Baths and the contract with the Council’s leisure operator (GLL) doesn’t currently include the continued operation of the Turkish Baths.
The Friends of Carlisle Victorian and Turkish Baths hope that with sympathetic renovation and restoration that the old Public and Turkish Baths could be turned into a health and well-being centre for the community.