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.”

Local bathers invited for final tour of Newcastle City Pool

HISTORY lovers and former users of the Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths will get a last chance to bid farewell before the venue undergoes a major refurbishment.

The last chance tours are free and will take place on April 20 and 21 before workmen move in to start construction this spring.

The tours of the building, which dates back to 1928, will be hosted by representatives of owners Fusion Lifestyle and campaign group Reopen Newcastle Turkish Baths.

This is the first opportunity members of the public have had to enter the City Pool since its closure in March 2013. It is also the last time the building will be accessible until it reopens in spring 2018.

Anthony Cawley, director of operations at Fusion Lifestyle, said: “People from across the North East have a real connection with this place and there are lots of memories tied up in the venue.

“We couldn’t begin work on site without giving the public an opportunity to have one last look.”

There’s no need for swimming costumes and caps on this tour, instead attendees will be greeted with an unusual glimpse into this currently disused Newcastle cultural icon.

While the pools may be empty of water and the Turkish Baths frozen in time the tours will take an optimistic look forward to the reopening.

Anthony said: “After a campaign to save it by the Reopen Newcastle Turkish Baths Group, Fusion Lifestyle took the building on with a vison to restore it.

“Fusion Lifestyle’s mission is to make sport, fitness and wellbeing facilities affordable and accessible to all.

“It is in an independent, registered charity that aims to deliver choice and value, helping people to live healthier, more active lives.

“The charity has more than 90 swimming pools, sport and fitness facilities across the UK.”

The £5million programme of work will see the building undergo a transformation to become a stunning, top quality fitness and wellbeing venue for the 21st century – while sensitively restoring and retaining the building’s original art deco listed heritage features.

The venue will include a public pool, Turkish Baths, a spa with treatment rooms, fitness suites, exercise studios and café bistro.

Anthony added: “While the tours will give people a chance to revisit old memories we’re looking forward to giving people across the North East a place to make memories for many years to come.

“I expect there will be lots of demand for this tour, but we can only accommodate up to ten people per tour, so I’d encourage people to book early.”

Cait Read from the Reopen Newcastle Turkish Baths group that campaigned to save the venue, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to see Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths as they were and to get a glimpse of some of the behind the scenes areas not normally shown to the public.

“It’s a great chance to hear first-hand from Fusion the plans for restoration and redevelopment of this important and much loved historical building ahead of the work starting, and to ask questions about the project.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Fusion over the coming year to bring Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths back into use as an affordable and accessible leisure resource for the people of Newcastle.”

Tours of Newcastle City Pool and Turkish Baths take place on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 April between 10am-3pm and will last around 45 minutes per tour.

To book your tickets go to