‘Living history’ of Manchester’s Victoria Baths celebrated with month of commemorative events

By Daisy Yates

Manchester’s beloved Victoria Baths is commemorating the ten year anniversary since it won the first series of the BBC Restoration show with an array of celebratory events throughout September.

The events will illustrate the progress of the last decade including a spectacular performance from Aquabatix – the world-renowned synchronised swimming group.

A new stained glass window will be unveiled and ‘the world’s most adventurous cellist’ Matthew Barley will be performing from the depths of the pool with a unique electronic visual show as part of his Britten Centenary tour.

Prue Williams, the author of Victoria Baths: Manchester’s Water Palace, said: “So many vivid memories live on in the hearts and minds of all who are a part of the living history of this most elaborate and spectacular bathhouse.”

The baths were first opened in 1906 and developed a rich, colourful history before its closure in 1993.

A breeding ground for champion swimmers, one of the biggest stars of Victoria Baths was Sunny Lowry who swam for 16 hours to become the fifth English woman to swim the Channel in August 1933.

The baths are also popular on the box, having been used as a filming location for a number TV series like the Manchester-based Life on Mars, Silent Witness and Antiques Roadshow. It’s even played host to a range of singers from the Bee Gees to Will Young.

In the future the baths hope to reopen with one of the three pools available for the public again.

The celebrations kick off on September 1 with an open day and local history fair, giving visitors the chance to go on a guided tour of the baths, exposing the behind the scenes.

Guests can see the costumes and medals donated by swimmers and explore a range of stalls and workshops from history groups and museums from around Greater Manchester.

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