Our Vision for the Victorian and Turkish Baths
Our Vision for the Public Baths complements the ambition of the City’s Council Town Plan to “enable Carlisle to grow and prosper as the capital of the Borderlands region, benefiting the health and wellbeing of the people of Carlisle” and the Borderlands Growth Deal “to attract new people to our area and revitalise our towns and communities”.
A New Baths Entrance
Carlisle is the hub for the wider Borderlands Region and its over one million residents. The Carlisle Station Gateway Project will deliver a new station entrance facing what is currently the rear of the Public Baths. Our Vision proposes to create a new, fully accessible main entrance and Baths reception facing the station with a restaurant and retail unit, attracting new users to the Baths and magnifying the regeneration impact of the £20m improvements to Carlisle Railway Station.
Restoring & extending the Turkish Baths
The Turkish Baths were built for a capacity of 14 users. To realise the full potential of the Turkish Baths the floor space and capacity of the Turkish Baths must increase. We believe this would be best achieved by making the 20m pool and its changing rooms part of the Turkish Baths, and by creating a cafe bar and treatment rooms in the 1920 Ladies Waiting Room and Slipper Baths.
Moving the sauna and steam room to adjacent areas would further increase capacity. Heritage funding could be sought to fund a restoration project that would uncover and restore the terrazzo floor and original glazed bricks and tiling throughout the Turkish Baths, and remove the false ceiling over the 20m pool to reveal the roof skylight.
We believe these changes would create an attractive and unique visitor experience, with visitors able to step of their train and enter the Baths in less than five minutes.
A new hydro health centre
The demolition of the 1970’s Pool (adjacent to the Public Baths) creates an opportunity for Carlisle to have its own hydrotherapy facility. Despite being the County Capital, Carlisle residents currently have a round trip of 100 miles to access hydrotherapy.
The existing 10m pool in the Baths could be refurbished as a hydrotherapy pool and a new health centre built on the space of the (demolished) pools reception. Immediately accessible from the station and with sufficient parking, the new hydro health centre would provide modern hydrotherapeutic treatments for both physical and mental health conditions.
The new centre, which we propose should be called the ‘Queen Elizabeth II Centre for Health and Hydrotherapy’ would also provide additional training facilities for Cumbria University’s Health Institute, with students able to easily access the health centre from the new Citadel Campus though the new Station Gateway.
Community Hub & Laundry
Awareness of food poverty has grown hugely in recent years and many households have found it difficult to afford food during the COVID pandemic. However the issue of hygiene poverty is less known but very serious for families unable to afford a washing machine.
Figures from the Charity Turn To Us estimate that 1 in 7 households with incomes on or below £35,000 live without at least one home appliance and the English Indices of Deprivation place Carlisle 100th (out of 326). This suggests that many households in and around the City will be unable to afford essential home appliances – like a washing machine – forcing them to either wash clothes in their sink or use a launderette. Research by Turn to Us found that “living without a washing machine, and using a launderette instead, is over 2,500% more expensive”.
The hidden problem of hygiene poverty has prompted many communities to establish affordable community laundries, like Kitty’s Laundry in Liverpool. Our Vision is to create high-quality, affordable ecological laundry and dry cleaning services, as well as a space for people to gather, talk and learn in the old laundry in the Baths. Operating as a charity or Community Interest Organisation the Community Hub and Laundry would serve a modern day need and celebrate the heritage and purpose of the Public Baths and Washhouses.
Supporting Health and Wellbeing outdoors
The last part of our Vision is to create a new urban green space with an outdoor gym, water features, an accessible play area and quiet spaces for relaxation, on the site of the 1970s pool.
Carlisle lacks green space in the town centre, and the pandemic has shown us all the importance of having quality outdoor space that offers something for everyone. Rather than use the site of the 1970’s pool for a more car parking and car hire, we believe the area could be used to create a new urban park serving shoppers and visitors to the Town Centre and providing a local park for residents of the proposed Caldew Riverside Housing Development.
How Can You Support Our Campaign?
Our vision can only come true with the vision and help of the local community. Please help us save this unique and beautiful piece of Carlisle heritage before it’s too late.
As volunteers we rely on donations and fundraising to pay for our publicity, stationery and professional fees. Every pound you give takes us one step closer to achieving our Vision.
Please support us by making a donation today.
The people who will decide the future of Carlisle’s Historic Baths are the local politicians. The Friends are committed to working with the City and County Councils, the local MPs and the new Unitary Authority, but the people politicians listen to most are their constituents.
Please write to your MP and Councillors today and ask them to support the Vision for the Baths.
Nearly 4,000 have already signed our petition in support of our Vision, but we need as much support as possible if we are to convince the Council to adopt our Vision.
Please sign and share our petition today.