City Pool and Turkish Baths visit inspires Historic Pools of Britain

AN ORGANISATION set up to represent Britain’s bathing heritage visited an iconic building in Newcastle as part of National Sporting Heritage Day celebrations (September 30, 2017).

Historic Pools of Britain visited the Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths to see the plans to restore it to its former glory.

The group, which is celebrating its second anniversary and has raised awareness of other historic pools across the country that require restoration, has kept a keen eye on the plans to reopen the City Pool and Turkish Baths.

Gill Wright, founder of Historic Pools of Britain, said: “There is huge interest in the restoration of pools across the country and it was good to discover how the Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths project is developing.

“Over the past two years, we have seen the positive impact on the public when historic pools have been preserved and reopened, and I’m excited about that happening for the people of Newcastle.”

The pool and baths will be given a new lease of life following a £5m refurbishment by Fusion Lifestyle, a sports and leisure management organisation and registered charity.

When the work is complete, the venue will feature a public pool and Turkish baths, fitness suites, exercise studios, a spa with treatment rooms and a café bistro.

Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths was closed in 2013, with it following in the footsteps of many other historically significant pools across the country including in Manchester, Reading, Bath and Birmingham.

Campaign group Re-open Newcastle Turkish Baths and City Pool played a fundamental role in raising awareness of the building’s situation and Fusion Lifestyle saw the opportunity to get on board and add the site to its UK portfolio.

Cait Read, of Re-open Newcastle Turkish Baths and City Pool, said: “We were delighted to be able to host an event here in Newcastle for members of Historic Pools of Britain.”

“While we were campaigning for the City Pool and Turkish Baths to re-open, membership of Historic Pools provided invaluable support, inspiration and insights from other pool campaigns around the country, so we were thrilled to welcome the group here as the restoration of Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths is about to begin.”

Historic Pools of Britain visited Newcastle’s Theatre Royal where its members, representing pools from across the country, and a team from Fusion, discussed progress of the project before visiting City Pool for a tour of the building.

Tim Mills, director of business development at Fusion Lifestyle, said: “It was great to meet the members of Historic Pools of Britain and get their feedback on the plans for Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths, while sharing our expertise on similar projects.

“Fusion is dedicated to providing high-quality facilities to local communities and we’re proud to have been able to do this across the country, and now in Newcastle.”

As part of its visit to the North East, the group also enjoyed a tour of Tynemouth Outdoor Pool, an out-of-use lido on Longsands beach that has been earmarked for restoration.  It was built in the 1920s but fell out of use in the late 1970s as more people started to holiday abroad.

Soap star joins in support of City Pool plans

A FORMER Emmerdale actress has joined supporters of the redevelopment of Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths.

Charlie Hardwick, who played Val Pollard in the hit TV show, visited the historic building recently to celebrate the venue’s refurbishment.

Charlie, from Wallsend in North Tyneside, was a regular at the city-centre Turkish Baths until they were closed in 2013.

It was welcome news to her that the pool and baths will be given a new lease of life following a £5m refurbishment by leisure charity Fusion Lifestyle.

She said: “I’m so thrilled that the Turkish Baths are being saved.

“I remember the pool from swimming here as a child. When there were swimming galas on the noise was so deafening, with hundreds and hundreds of kids screaming their mates on.

“I didn’t know the Turkish Baths downstairs existed until later on, when I was introduced by the writer and poet Julia Darling.

“We would meet here on a Tuesday and we would cook up plans. In a completely relaxed state where there was no stress – everything seemed possible when we were talking in the Turkish Baths.”

Charlie also supported the community-led campaign group, Re-open Newcastle Turkish Baths, which sought to save the venue back in 2013.

The campaign caught the eye of charity Fusion Lifestyle, which runs over 90 facilities across the UK and successfully applied for planning permission last year.

The new facility will reinstate a public pool and Turkish Baths, as well as introducing a spa with treatment rooms, fitness suites, exercise studios and a café bistro.

Anthony Cawley, operations director at Fusion Lifestyle, said: “The City Pool is genuinely loved by the community and everyone is interested in the progress of the redevelopment.

“I find it fascinating to listen to all the memories from visitors and those interested in the scheme – and Charlie is one of those people.

“We are continuing with the design and preparation of the building and the site – it’s important to get the details right.

“And we’re looking forward to getting on with the job in hand and inviting Charlie and all the other fans of the building back next year when City Pool and Turkish Baths is due to reopen.”