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Swim for Restoration 2018
22 May 2018
Lifestyle writer and blogger Susan Earlam gives her personal account of swimming at our Swim for Restoration...
A blissfully sunny afternoon and I found myself with butterflies in my stomach.
That familiar pre-swimming lesson sensation from childhood, rearing it’s fluttering head.
Getting out of my car with my swim stuff in a bag on my shoulder, I clutch my phone and bring up the virtual ticket.
My passport through time.
My mum swam here as a girl and now I am getting to swim in the most majestic and criminally underfunded venue in Manchester, Victoria Baths, as if you didn't know.
The volunteers working today are attentive and knowledgeable. I get shown to a cubicle and it dawns on me why the ticket says a set time, there’s only so many cubicles to get changed in.
Seeing the pool filled with water, and the sun filtering through the glass windows is breath-taking. Inside the pool colourful inflatables are frolicking with members of the public, everyone is smiling in wonder. We all can't believe it, what a treat, what a moment to remember.
There’s a real feeling of being in on some wonderful secret place.
The water is surprisingly warm, I am swimming solo, but I don't feel alone. I want to linger, to absorb all the details here, all the sensations. I wish I could take photographs with my eyes.
The Baths has come to life in a way I haven't seen before on my many visits preceding this one. And of course, it makes complete sense it is a Baths after all, this is what it’s designed for.
Everything feels more vibrant, more lucid, more colourful.
I wish everyone could see it today, and when I share a photo on my Instagram feed a few days later it feels like I’ve shown it to people. I say, look, look at this wonderful place. This is what you could have. This is where you could go. The photo goes on to be one of my most liked and engaging photos ever.
The secret is out.
Swim for Restoration
23 May 2017
What an amazing time we had, when we opened our doors for one day of public swimming on Sunday 14th May. Not only did we have 177 very excited members of the public having a great time, we had masses of media interest. Never has a public swim produced so many lovely photographs!
And the Swim raised £3,000 for our restoration funds, with a further donation still to come in from the weekend.
Sir Howard Bernstein gives VB seal of approval
17 Jan 2017
Sir Howard Bernstein has given Victoria Baths his seal of approval and a profile boost by hosting an event in the Town Hall for Manchester business leaders. The event was initiated by deputy council leader Bernard Priest who is a big supporter of Victoria Baths.
The picture shows Sir Howard Bernstein, Jill Earnshaw (chair of Victoria Baths Trust) and Councillor Bernard Priest.
Sir Howard says: “Manchester is continuing to grow and develop thanks to individuals, groups and businesses that passionately believe in the city. Victoria Baths Trust is an outstanding example of how much can be achieved when a community gets behind a project and won’t give up. They have raised £5m to date and ensured that Victoria Baths is preserved. The next step will be even more beneficial – the re-opening of the Turkish Baths will provide a unique offer to Manchester residents and visitors and will contribute to the city’s reputation as a world class destination. I fully support the Trust in their plans for Restoration Phase 2.”
Victoria Baths Trust Open Meeting – Vision, Strategy and Restoration Phase 2
22 Mar 2015
Twenty-eight Trust Members and Friends met in the Pineapple Room to hear about the next stage of the restoration of Victoria Baths and to contribute their ideas on how things should move forward.
Pam Schwarz, Chair of the Trust, welcomed people to the meeting which she said was being held at an exciting time in the development of Victoria Baths – the time when we are beginning the development of Restoration Phase 2.
Pam led Friends in considering updated versions of Our Vision for Victoria Baths and Our Strategy for the Restoration of Victoria Baths. She explained that these were two documents which were essential to the Trust to help to explain to partner organisations – including potential funders – how we want to move forward.
Friends worked in groups, supported by Trustees, to comment on the contents of the vision and strategy. The groups provided many good ideas about how the documents could be changed to explain our proposals better.
Pam has incorporated these changes into revised versions of the vision and strategy which will be presented to the Trustees for approval at their April meeting and reported to Trust Members and Friends at the next Open Meeting.
Friends also had the opportunity to tour the parts of the building which will be further restored during Restoration Phase 2. Outline plans for the proposed Turkish Baths and Health Suite, taking up part of the ground floor and basement, and three or four apartments, using the former Committee Room and Superintendent’s flat on the first and second floor, were available. Plans can be seen on the Friends’ notice board at the Baths.
Jane Bracewell, Trustee, and Gill Wright, Project Manager, led the groups around the building, explaining the initial proposals for the use of spaces.
Friends were enthusiastic about, and supportive of, the proposals. They provided many helpful comments on how the plans might be improved. Jane has collated the comments which will be used by the Trust in its further discussions with partners such as architects, surveyors and funders.
Jill Earnshaw, Vice Chair of the Trust, then described a Great Opportunity to Help Victoria Baths. She mentioned that we had heard during the meeting about plans for this exciting new phase of restoration to bring the Turkish Baths back to their former glory and to create modern treatment rooms for massages, pedicures and the like.
Jill reminded Friends that we have engaged Compton to guide us through the fundraising. However, before that really gets under way, she pointed out that there are things to be done which cost money such as engaging architects and drawing up business plans.
The main fundraising will not go public for some time, but we have heard that some Friends (both those at the meeting and those not able to be there) are very generously offering to make donations at the present time. These would be greatly appreciated, because it would enable the Trust to pay in particular for these early items of expense, which could amount to around £50,000.
Jill announced that The Restoration Phase 2 Start-up Fund is now launched. We already have over £10,000 in the fund, which is a great start. Further donations to the Fund are welcome.
You can make a donation via a cheque made payable to Victoria Baths Trust, accompanied by the completed form at the donate link at the top of this page or at(http://www.victoriabaths.org.uk/support-us/donations/). The cheque and the form should then be returned to the Project Office at the Baths.
Pam then drew the Trust Open Meeting to a close, thanking Friends for their enthusiasm about Restoration Phase 2. She reminded them that the next Trust Open Meeting is on Monday 15 June in the evening. Trustees will report on progress towards Phase 2. She looked forward to seeing Trust Members and Friends there.