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By John Baron

I was going through a difficult period with my mental health back in 2012 when I wrote this about Bramley Baths:

“It helps me forget the stresses of the day. Problems seem to just wash away as you swim. There’s also nothing remotely like it in Leeds as it’s a place you can escape to and lose yourself in its history. “

Those words still ring true today.

These are difficult times for many people right now, and ahead of World Mental Health Day I wanted to share some of my thoughts as to how Bramley Baths have helped my wellbeing over the years.

By the way, almost eight years after writing this article for Leeds Wellbeing Web, I now work at Bramley Baths. The pool – and the people who work and swim/gym here – are still my haven to this day…

Bramley Baths are brilliant. Period. Discussion over.

They’re also incredibly beautiful and full of character and history. The Edwardian Baths are some 100+ years old and still include many of the original features.

Entering the pool is a bit like stepping inside Doctor Who’s Tardis, as you feel like you’ve been transported back to a bygone era. The changing rooms are located around the side of the pool, there’s a fabulously beautiful balcony, and just gazing up at the incredibly detailed roof on a dark winters’ night is a sight to behold.

It helps me forget the stresses of the day. Problems seem to just wash away as you swim, like your mind is being cleansed by the water, as well as your body. There’s also nothing remotely like it in Leeds as it’s a place you can escape to and lose yourself in its history.

It’s got real character. But its charm and beauty don’t just extend to the Grade II Listed building. The staff are friendly, and there’s a real sense of community surrounding it. I take my five year old son on a Friday evening (he thinks it’s great fun to splash daddy) and you often bump into the same people there – and you strike up friendships, which has been an unexpected bonus.

Bramley Baths was restored in 1992 and it is the last survivor of eight public baths built in Leeds between 1899 and 1904 .

I do hope the future of this fantastic resource can be safeguarded for another 100 years. It’s a real lifeline for me.

Around Christmas time I felt really dark, as if there was a black cloud havering over me that wouldn’t shift. I put it down to overwork but knew something wasn’t quite right. I was quite shocked when the doctor (my GP, not the Time Lord!) diagnosed me with a mild depression and offered me a choice between regular exercise and tablets to get me back up to speed. I chose Bramley Baths. Long may it make a splash!

The original article can be found here.