Friday, 8 June 2012

The Wash House Garden


There has been some interesting e-mail correspondence going on about Saltaire's Wash-house and Baths, sparked off by someone who read my blog.  He is researching a book into Victorian Turkish Baths and got in touch with me to ask if I knew of any photos of the building.  It was demolished early in the 20th century, though the actual date seems somewhat unclear.  After I put him in touch with some of the enthusiastic and knowledgeable members of Saltaire's History Club, there has been much ongoing debate to try to clarify some issues like the date the baths were converted to housing, the date of their eventual demolition and the height of the chimney.  Plans were consulted, heads scratched, photos and drawings studied - and I think some progress has been made.  It's interesting that even in a well-researched and preserved place like Saltaire there are still mysteries to be cleared up.  For a fuller account, please read Roger Clarke's article in the June 2012 Issue (114) of the Saltaire Sentinel, our local newsletter, available in PDF format on the Village Website.

Anyway, after all that, I though I'd show a photo of the little square where the Wash-house used to be.  What was once a fairly drab area in the middle of the village has recently been turned into an attractive garden, with the support of a grant from our local Green councillors and some hard work by Friends of Roberts Park's Paul Haigh and others.  It is now being maintained by Paul and a group of volunteers.

5 comments:

  1. It certainly looks a pleasant place to visit now. Is there a plaque saying that the public baths were there?

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  2. I'm not surprised at the lack of documentation of changes. When trying to find out about buildings of the University here in Cambridge similar uncertainties abound. Can you believe it - the place is full of historians but none of them actually write down what's happening under their noses! Pleasant little garden - well done those volunteers.

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  3. It is a simple little garden, but it improves the dreary area immeasurably.

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  4. I'm sure it is a big improvement. Good luck to the historians! History is always being written!

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  5. I really like that idea about a plaque where the wash-house and Turkish baths stood. What about it Saltaire?

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