The public of Newcastle or mainly in debit to the labours of Mr. Alderman Dodds, J.P., and C.F. Hammond Esq.for the commodious and handsome building, which has recently been opened at the foot of Gallowgate.
The designer of the building has tried to make it stand out so as not to be mistaken for an asylum, mechanics institute or vestry hall. The superintendent's office is at the centre of the building and has a kitchen, small scullery, pantry, parlour and two bedrooms.
The baths are on the left hand side on entering the porch. There are fourteen warm and cold baths, with waiting rooms and conveniences attached. The baths are divided into first and second class. There is no plasterwork inside the washhouse or the bathrooms the whole of the walls are lined with glazed porcelain bricks of a warm buff colour.
The divisions between the baths in the first class are enamelled slate, of a pale green tinge, which contrasts with the buff brick walling and pale grey roof painting. The second-class bath partitions are plain slate smooth on both sides. The whole of the baths are formed in one-piece Stourbridge fireclay, coated on the outside with a layer of white porcelain.
The bath apartments are well ventilated. The washhouse is reached from the opposite side of the porch to the baths. In the passage way there is a spring door, which can be opened by the superintendent only from the office, for the purpose of preventing ingress and egress without being recorded. The washhouse is a spacious apartment, with glazed brick walls, painted iron roof, rows of skylights iron columns ornamental ventilating grates and other accessories.
A report written in 1845 which looked at the conditions of the people in Newcastle the problem of bathing was examined, along the Tyne it had been possible for the poorer classes to bath in the river but the development of the Quayside meant it was harder for the public to bath the only places left to bath were not secluded enough and were open to the view of well frequented pathways. The Ouseburn at about a mile outside town was mentioned as a bathing place but was mostly used in the summer. Baths open to the public on payment of a moderate fee have been recently erected and no expense spared to render them worth of the support of the public. There are situated in the upper part of town and are not conveniently placed for the use of the poorer classes. It was recommended that baths should be built that were accessible to the poorer public either free or for a very low charge and that it should be in the vicinity of a steam engine so that tepid baths could be provided in the winter. It was thought that once people got into the habit of bathing it would fill their leisure time and keep them off the streets and out of the public houses.
In 1855 the Northumberland public baths at Ridley place, east side of Northumberland Street, this building occupies an area of 172 ft. by 132, and were erected in 1838 and cost £9500 to build from the desighn of J. Dobson. The building contains warm shower, vapour, tepid medication and plunge baths the latter being 107 by 51 ft.
The door on the left for men and on the right for women.
Foundation stone laid, 14 March, 1906, Opened by Lady Mayoress J.M.Ombridge, 8 April 1907.
In Wards Directory for 1906 I only found, Baths on City Road T.R. Barber, Manager.
A History and directory of Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1887.
Gallowgate, Edwd. Robson, manager.
City Road, P. Hastie, lessee.
Scotswood Road, R. Clark, supt.
Church Street, R. Clark supt.
Shipley street, D. Munn, manager.