At the heart of its community since 1904, Bramley Baths is the last remaining Edwardian bath house in Leeds.
Built to improve public health and wellbeing in response to the outbreak of cholera, local residents came to wash, swim and use the Russian Steam Baths – fashionable with the wealthier Edwardians. Originally the Globe Foundry, the iconic chimney built from Kirkstall bricks, still towers over the baths today.
Retaining many original features including the oak reception box and stained glass windows, the baths were emptied during the Depression of the 1920s and filled with water and bleach every fortnight. A dance floor was built, allowing the Baths to continue as social hub for the community even in the toughest times, and from World War II to the 1960s Bramley Baths was well known across the city for its dances.
Social events, galas and swimming lessons dominated the 50s, 60s and 70s. Generations of local people learned to swim at Bramley Baths including many of today’s members and visitors and staff, and competed in school and city wide competitions, with the Bramley squad being well regarded across Leeds.
Bramley Baths has been a constant in local life since it opened its doors in 1904 and has recently been awarded a Blue Plaque from Leeds Civic Trust in recognition of its significance in Leeds’s wider heritage.
Generations have learned to swim, bathed, danced, raced, and worked at Bramley Baths. It is more than a pool – it is a special place in people’s lives and histories, and community support continues to preserve its past, deliver its present and help secure its future for generations to come.