The UK’s oldest public bath house will go under the hammer on 2 June.
Newcastle’s Grade II-listed The Gibson Street Baths building was constructed in 1906 by FH Holford as a public swimming pool and wash house. Comprising a domed hall, changing areas, gendered wash rooms and entrance foyer, it is listed with a modest reserve of just £10,000, but is expected to fetch more.
‘The online auction method of sale is perfect for this building as it opens up the market to all, from local developers to investors worldwide and we look forward to seeing a historic plot restored to its former glory,’ said Simon Riggall, director of Lambert Smith Hampton who is handling the property’s sale on behalf of Newcastle City Council.
Gibson Street Baths closed in 1965 and the building was used as a badminton club in subsequent years.
It has fallen into disrepair over the last 50 years but many of its original features are intact, including tiled friezes and a cast iron turnstile in the entrance hall.
The swimming pool is hidden beneath floorboards in the 5,220 sq ft main hall, which is capped by a glazed, domed ceiling.
Informal planning guidance says the building could be converted for a range of uses, from private or student residential accommodation to leisure and sports facilities, a hotel, studios or restaurant. ‘The planners are going to be very flexible,’ says Riggall. ‘The city council really wants to see it brought back into use’.
Newcastle City Council is selling off the disused building to help cope with budget cuts. It previously sold the O2 Academy in the city centre, and a former fire station in Gosforth.