Friday, 6 January 2017

Milton Road Washing and Turkish Baths

Having spent many hours swimming in the 33.3metre swimming pool at Milton Road years ago, and watching children learn to swim, it's quite a long time since I've been there. I was concerned that a building like Milton Road Baths could be leased to Greenwich Leisure Limited on 9 October 2014 as part of a 6 leisure location package.
Two years down the line, the small pool has already been closed since January 2016 because it needs repairing, and GLL declared it not viable, thus reducing considerably the number of people using Milton Road.  GLL are already talking about applying to convert the 'dry side' to apartments while retaining the outer shell of the building, this bombshell hit the local news on Boxing Day:
Others have written eloquently about the history of the building, such as the fascinating blog Swindon in the Past Lane written by Frances Bevan, her piece written 5 years ago on Milton Road Baths gives a superb account of their history, have a look:
There's a petition to save the baths from GLL's plans,
and the Save Swindon's Heritage Facebook group has some excellent feedback made by the eminent historian, Graham Carter, who met GLL today at a meeting facilitated by South Swindon MP Robert Buckland.
You will find lots more information on the current situation on Angela Atkinson's excellent blog: Born Again Swindonian:
Since there's so much information around about the baths, I decided to pay a visit to the Turkish baths and take a few photos.
I cycled from the Link Centre partly by the Southern Flyer cycle route, so didn't have to cycle on the road until I reached the centre of Swindon.
On arrival, we were greeted warmly in reception, and encouraged to take advantage of the experience after being  shown round, I took a few photos, but it's not easy to convey the experience of the Turkish baths. We started with a shower, here's one of them
 from there, we sat in one of the two steam rooms, this is the smaller one, but you can't see anything for obvious reasons
 next we showered again to wash off the sweat and tried the jacuzzi, seen below on the left
from there we went into a sauna until we couldn't bear it any more because it was so hot, having showered again, we went into the smaller steam room, and then tried to go into the cold plunge pool, I found complete immersion difficult to achieve.
After another shower, dressed and felt amazing, relaxed, clean and invigorated. I asked if we could have a look round and take a few photos, we tagged onto a tour being given to someone intending to join.
We didn't weigh ourselves before and after!
During one of the refurbishments, partitions have been erected to create changing rooms as can be seen below; the floor is lovely
 Our first stop was the large baths, if you swim 33 lengths that's 1Km, it's the largest pool in Swindon, an Olympic sized pool is 50m.
 It's a lovely pool
 and at the other end is a lovely window
 here's a closer look
 I particularly like the seating arrangements along the sides
 and here's a photo of the small pool which looks lovely, emptied of water, and in need of repair apparently. How wonderful if this could happen, and it could be used again for teaching young people to swim once again.
 From the small pool, to the other entrance, the one to the baths with more lovely glass
 and more
 and yet more on the first floor
 In context, the pair of windows in the conferenc earea where there was once a lovely cafe where I went to a Christmas celebration.
 and back to reception along one of the corridors
 where we bumped into Jane Faulkes a Mc Timoney Chiropractor who I have visited many times at Milton Road, she invited us into her practice room to photograph her fireplace:
A lovely experience, do go and have a Turkish bath, they are open every day of the week, you'll feel so much better for it.

1 comment:

  1. It doesnt give the opening times of the Turkish Baths. This is what I need to know. And additionally what is the rule regarding dress.
    i.e. what does one wear in the Turkish Bath
    Please get back tio me with the relevant information.
    David Collins