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Edinburgh, Thirlestane Road, Warrender Public Baths

A Category B Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9352 / 55°56'6"N

Longitude: -3.1975 / 3°11'50"W

OS Eastings: 325289

OS Northings: 671992

OS Grid: NT252719

Mapcode National: GBR 8MM.TW

Mapcode Global: WH6SS.V2LV

Entry Name: Edinburgh, Thirlestane Road, Warrender Public Baths

Listing Date: 19 March 1993

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 371674

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB30607

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Locality: Meadows/Morningside

Traditional County: Midlothian

Description

Robert Paterson and Son, dated 1886-7. Single-storey and basement, rectangular-plan swimming baths in eclectic Jacobean style with variety of straight and crowstepped gabled and finialled bays, prominent transomed and mullioned, architraved round arched windows, stone balustraded above eaves. Pink sandstone ashlar to entrance elevation; snecked sandstone to rear. Some scrolled pedimented windows. Bracketed gables to rear, including large round arched window, tall ventilation block and courtyard area.

Predominantly timber in sash and case windows with variety of glazing patterns; later 20th century glass doors to main entrance; pitched roofs, grey slates; coped chimneystack.

INTERIOR: (seen 2013). Mosaic tiled foyer with barrel-vaulted coffered ceiling, leading to stairs to short flight of processional to pool area. Wide timber king-post and glazed roof, timber arcading containing changing cubicles; red sandstone framed Vitriuvian arch terminating pool area leading to gymnasium area.

BOUNDARY WALL AND GATEPIERS: low coped boundary wall with square plan entrance piers, carved caps with cast-iron lamp standard finials. Plain gatepiers and coped boundary wall to rear fronting courtyard.

Statement of Interest

Warrender Park Baths is an important example of a later 19th century private baths. These baths were designed as a luxurious facility for the Warrender Private Baths Co. on land donated by Sir George Warrender of Bruntsfield House. The City of Edinburgh Corporation acquired the baths in 1908. The projected facilities, apart from the main pool, comprised a reading room, frigidarium, tepidarium, sudatorium, Russian Bath, plunge and electric baths, vapour bath, gymnasium, and various other shower and changing rooms. Most of these features are now removed, except for the gymnasium which is adjacent to the pool.

William Harley was the first to offer indoor baths in Glasgow, at Willowbank in 1804. Swimming became widely popular as a sport during the late 19th century as more residences in the UK gained access to mains water supply and could therefore wash and bath at home. Private swimming clubs were established cater to the professional classes who were becoming more aware of the benefits of exercise and general health and wellbeing. The pools being built were enlarged, to accommodate the shift from plunge pools to large swimming pools. The Arlington Baths, Glasgow, was the first private swimming club to be opened in Britain in 1871. The Arlington Baths Club proved so successful that its membership topped 600 by 1875. Thus a wave of successive clubs opened in Glasgow such as the Western Baths at Hillhead. Edinburgh got its own club in 1882 with the opening of Drumsheugh.

Robert Paterson was born in 1825 and was the elder brother of John Paterson. He was articled to George Beattie, architect and builder, and commenced practice c.1859-60 at 6 (later 10) Hanover Street, Edinburgh. He came into prominence early at the Café Royal building with its innovative French roof in 1861-62, followed by some equally innovative polychromatic Italian Gothic churches in 1863-64. About 1875 Paterson's son, Robert Paterson, Junior, became a partner and by that date Paterson Senior was City Assessor. The elder Robert Paterson died on 5 October 1889 and the practice was continued by his son.

List description updated as part of the sporting buildings thematic study (2012-13).

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