Whitworth Baths – Ashton Old Road – Openshaw

12 Aug



Whitworth Baths on Ashton Old Road in Openshaw, were built in 1890 and designed by Scottish architect James Wiiliam Beaumont (Whitworth Art Gallery, Kendals) in honour of celebrated philanthropist and engineer Sir Joseph Whitworth, whose name is remembered throughout Manchester including street names and parks and in particular his home which is now the superb, Whitworth Art Gallery.

The sparkle may have faded somewhat but Whitworth Baths could surely shine once again and become a cultural and historical asset for the people of Openshaw as well as Manchester and the wider world and bring together what over the years, like so much of our North Manchester, as become fractured and exposed to streams of crime, property developers and overly zealous Council CPO and demolition squads who see historic building nothing more than obstacles, rather that assets.

Areas like Openshaw have never really escaped the shadow of the last “slum” clearances of the 1960 and 1970s and the decline of industry. However, unsympathetic demolition and grand masterplans have a very unenviable record of success in Manchester as they do throughout the country.

With seemingly whole areas sold off to the highest bidder, often with no interest in providing or retaining services for the community, communities have further struggled and Whitworth Baths stands as testament to the failure of political policies that solely should seek to better and enrich the lives of those it represents. Marginalization, gentrification, privatization of public spaces (Piccadilly Gardens is a notable example), sit comfortably with large (“anchor”) multi-national businesses whose interests exist at the polar opposite of those of the community they so elegantly profess to serve (“every little helps!”).

Is the history, the struggles and the endeavours of our ancestors to remain nothing more than a fleeting memory. To be encapsulated in a faded photograph, aspiring to achieve nothing more than to hang on a museum wall.

Why bookmark history. Learn from it everyday. It’s only dead if we are not educated by it.

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11 Responses to “Whitworth Baths – Ashton Old Road – Openshaw”

  1. Anonymous September 9, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    What a shame if its demolished, I spent hours here swimming my best mate lived next door her dad was the caretaker for years, Mr Rawlinson Why does everything need to be pulled down and not restored. Janice Goodwin nee(Hardman)


  2. A. Milligan July 9, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    Oh my god – didnt this used to be the old bag wash? I used to go here every sat to do all the washin for my mum??
    09 July 2010 at 10:41


  3. historyme August 12, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    Petition at: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/savewhitworthbaths


  4. historyme August 12, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    Tracie Hampson ow wowwat yu could do with that
    15 August 2010 at 13:51


  5. historyme August 12, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    Tracie is was a swimming baths and wash house. Quite typical for the time and area.
    15 August 2010 at 13:50


  6. historyme August 12, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    Tracie Hampson wat was this place originally
    15 August 2010 at 13:49


  7. historyme August 12, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    Bowler Bowles Nice one for that. I’ll let you know how I get on. Check out the archaeological dig at “Eastlands”. Article in tonight’s MEN. Might have a ganders at weekend.
    09 July 2010 at 20:04


  8. historyme August 12, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    Lee Gregory Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit and ask if they have any information on their Historical Enviroment Record. You can name check me if you like
    09 July 2010 at 17:13


  9. historyme August 12, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    Bowler Bowles There is currently new housing going up just before the baths, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes in another wave of demolition. There are some fine historical buildings still left standing around this area and this is one. It would be a great asset if it could be restored and it would also connect well with another fantastic historical asset in the area, Gorton Monastery.
    09 July 2010 at 12:12


  10. historyme August 12, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    Bowler Bowles I don’t know the full history of it, Amanda. Very hard to find out information about it and not many records it seems. Trying to do a little more digging around. Most Victorian baths did have wash facilities though, so it wouldn’t be surprising.
    09 July 2010 at 12:10


  11. historyme August 12, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    Chloe Fraser Steele This is an amazing place. Don’t tell me it’s going to be demolished?
    09 July 2010 at 11:42


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