Carlisle Public Baths

Name: Carlisle Public Baths
Location: Carlisle
Current status: Open
Date built: Public Baths (1884), Turkish Baths (1909), Ladies waiting room, slipper baths & showers (1920), Large pool & new reception (1974)
Architect: County Surveyor WC Marks (Turkish Baths)
Listed building status: Partial listing – Turkish Baths Grade II
Lead organisation: Friends of Carlisle Victorian and Turkish Baths

Carlisle Public Baths originally comprised 1st and 2nd class plunge pools, slipper baths, vapour baths, showers and a ladies plunge pool. A Turkish Baths suite (1909) and a ladies waiting room and showers (1920) were subsequently added. The building was extended in 1974 to add a new reception and 33m swimming pool.

The original laundry and a bedroom in the former attendant’s house remain.
The 1920s extension is currently unused and remains unaltered.

Three swimming pools: one 10m pool, one 20m pool; and a 33m pool split into 25m and 7m sections. A gym and Victorian Turkish Baths Suite.

Notable fact
The Turkish Baths is one of only 12 still in operation in the UK. Over the years changes have been made to the facility, but the original plans and layout of frigidarium, three hot rooms and a shower room, have not been altered. The original internal décor has a Middle Eastern theme.

Decorative tiling in the frigidarium includes paired Art Nouveau tiles and glazed faïence work by Minton & Hollins in shades of pale green, pale blue and buff.

There are five double and single changing cubicles. These are separated by polished wooden screens, inset with Art Nouveau stained glass panels. Horse-shoe arches on decorative columns add to the design. The area is decorated with moulded architrave and an impressive stained glass fan light exists overhead. The floor is paved in Terrazzo throughout, although much of it is covered over at present. There is also a tiled horseshoe plunge pool.

Interesting architectural features are evident in the Public Baths and Turkish Baths buildings. Some features are currently hidden by cosmetic alterations.There are Victorian lantern skylights above the two teaching pools. These are currently hidden behind a lowered ceiling. Externally the attendants house is discernable in the central section of the 1884 Public Baths
The 1920 block includes a large Art Deco stained glass skylight.

Current plans
New pools are being built at another city facility in Carlisle. The redeveloped leisure centre is expected to open in 2022 and will replace the three pools at this facility.

The 10m and 20m pools in the old Public Baths building will close and the 1974 extension, including the 33m pool will be demolished.

Although the Turkish Baths are not part of the closure or demolition, their viability as a stand alone facility is in doubt. A feasibility study was carried out in 2021 by the City Council, which to date has not been published.

The County Council is leading a project to improve the adjacent Carlisle Citadel Station, which will open a new, main entrance to the station at the rear of the Baths. Friends of Carlisle Victorian and Turkish Baths believe that the new station entrance, would increase footfall and – with sympathetic renovation, restoration and development of the old Public and Turkish Baths into a health and well-being centre – there would be viable provision for the community.

Current proposals by Friends of Carlisle Victorian and Turkish Baths are: a leisure/spa facility, comprising the Turkish Baths, 20m pool and new treatment rooms; a hydrotherapy centre based around the 10m pool; and a community facility, comprising a community laundry, hall, and low cost therapy.


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Postcode: CA2 5AH

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