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The Doric Columns

Public Baths

The earliest recorded Bath House was on the East Bank of the lower Denburn opposite the then Bleaching Green. This would have enjoyed the setting sun and appeared to be a fine Romaneque structure reputed to have its own springs with pleasing westerly aspects of the Corbie Haugh. 

Illustration taken from a plate drawn by Sir John Carr, 1807 Showing the Bath House, arched bridges over the Denburn and the public Bleaching Grounds.  The Walled Gardens of Belmont Street properties and Romanesque west facing White Bath House indicates their established status as a recent constructions.  This Bath House appears 18 years earlier on Milnes Map of 1789.

1789 Survey Map - Alexander Milne

Crooked Lane - Aberdeen Public Baths, 10, St. Andrew Street. Superintendent James Angus, 5, Crooked Lane.
The Old Crooked Lane Baths which stood at the corner with St Andrews Street was the first Swimming Baths to be opened in Aberdeen on 17th March 1851. It provided only hot baths at the outset.  having space allocated for a swimming pool but not the funds to provide it.  The Pool 46' x 26' was eventually installed in 1869 following a face lift and thus the Crooked Lane Pond became the first place where swimming could be practised during the winter.  Crooked Lane was eventually closed and the premises adapted by the Waverly Press

Crooked Lane

Constitution Street
Swimming was transferred to new baths that were built by the Aberdeen Swimming Bath Company, in Constitution Street and opened in August 1887.  These baths measured 75' x 30' being 8ft  at the deep end rising to 4ft at the shallow end and held 72,050 Gallons of water.  Constitution Street Pool was eventually closed down and the Building became a Tram Depot,

Beach 1939 - showing the full bathing station, Bandstand, Ballroom and Pavilion.  Much trodden footpaths. An area of the links has been fenced and may have been for War Manoeuvre Purposes.

Beach Bathing Station

There is also mention of public bathing was at the Beach. Alexander Mowat was the owner of sea-water baths at both the Sea-Beach and Regents Quay, the latter doubtless catering for tenement dwellers or grubby sailors disembarking from merchant ships.  Swimmers moved to the Corporation Baths at the Beach which opened in 1898.  It was closed down in 1972 as it was declared structurally unsound and was subsequently demolished.  The small swimming pool was like a sunken Lido with a large low profile Skylight above the pool. Entry was via a descending staircase and included an upper viewing Gallery which was purloined into changing rooms during busy periods for both sexes along the 2 sides with simple continuous curtains for nominal privacy between both.  At pool level there were wooden doored changing lockers down both sides of bath but no security.  A simple slipper bath for feet washing and the pool ran from 3ft to 6ft at the deep end. Spitoons were provided in strategic positions at poolside between wooden grab rails.  There were no diving boards just tiered boards at various heights for those that were confident enough to use them at the deep end.  It was generally claimed it was easier to learn to swim in the Beach Baths as it was salt water of higher density but this was a fallacy as it was treated water not sea water.  One attended with as little possessions and as few clothes as possible and simply your 'cossie' wrapped up in a towel for drying off purposes.  Generally used by the great unwashed public as a leisurely alternative to a family communal tin bath in front of a fire for ones ritual weekly ablution.  Hence the ready spread of poliomyelitis.













Aberdeen Beach with the building of the Beach Baths on the right of the photograph. 

The Beach Bathing Station where generations of Aberdonians learnt to swim in the fresh water pool

The Bathing Station was designed by City Architect John Rust and opened on 13 July 1898.  A Distinctive red brick chimney dominated the beach skyline. The Bathing Station was eventually filled in and demolished, the door having finally closed to the public on the 11th July 1972.


Uptown or Bon Accord Baths

Built on the site of a former Agricultural Implements Factory

The Bon Accord Baths measure 120 x 42 feet and are 15 feet deep.

There are diving platforms to 33 feet. It was designed by the City Architect and opened in 1940, being frequently described as a granite box. 1,000 spectators can be seated at the Justice Mill Lane site, often called the Uptown Baths in deference to the down town Beach Baths.

When they were built in 1940, the new swimming baths were reported to have cost a total of  £100,000.

The  Turkish Baths Suite upstairs included medicated baths, a solarium for ‘sun-ray treatment’ and a lounge.  Closed in 2007.  A fine facility in its day and used for swimming Gala's, Polo Matches and Diving Competitions. 

Good spectator gallery.  Segregated washing and changing rooms. The 50 metre bath ran 3ft to 6ft depth with a steep drop to 15ft at the diving end.







The pool illumination lights and access ladders are apparent on the pool sides.

Middle School Baths
Teaching Pool of the school was available to other local schools for swimming lesson purposes.  Brother Sandy learned to swim here in the 1940's in the era of the great unwashed but the privilege was not extended to Ed.  Hey Ma kin I hae a rubber ring?  - Aye tak yer bike apart!

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Last modified: 01/09/2013