Heritage project at Templemore Baths Belfast progressing well
Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Kate Nicholl, was joined by representatives from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and leisure operator GLL at Templemore Baths last week to see progress on its £17 million restoration and expansion.
Templemore Baths are the last working Victorian public baths in Ireland and were opened in the late nineteenth century. They provided washing and sanitary facilities for the families who came to live in east Belfast attracted by the development of the Harland and Wolff shipyard and other manufacturing industries.
The baths are one of the few remaining links to a time when inner east Belfast was a thriving industrial community, and although part of the complex remains in use today, around 50 per cent of the building is vacant and in various stages of disrepair.
Many of the buildings original features such as the twin entrances, which reflect first and second class admissions, the minor pool and the slipper baths remain largely intact, although they have been long abandoned.
This ambitious project will sympathetically restore these and other original heritage features and ensure they are maintained for future generations to enjoy.
Work to-date has seen the brickwork on the Baths’ iconic chimney and caretaker’s cottage repointed, a new roof placed over a courtyard area where a new café will be located, drainage upgrades throughout the building and substantial timber repair works.
Over the next year, other key features will be restored including the laundry room, swimming pool and slipper baths. Extensive interpretive space will also be developed to tell the story of the Baths’ history and its importance to the local community. A new extension which is also underway will provide an additional six lane 25 metre pool, spa facilities and a fitness suite.
Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Nicholl said:
“Templemore is an iconic building where thousands of children over many decades learned to swim, so it holds a special place in people’s hearts. As the sole surviving Victorian public baths on the island of Ireland, it is also one of Belfast’s most historically significant buildings, so I am delighted to see so much care and attention being put into its restoration.
“This is one of seven new and upgraded leisure facilities that make up Belfast City Council’s £105 million Leisure Transformation Programme - the biggest investment of its kind in the UK. This investment demonstrates the importance that Council puts on the health and wellbeing of our citizens. The opening of the new Avoniel this autumn followed by the completion of Templemore in autumn 2022 will be a huge boost to the area.”
Belfast City Council is investing £12 million in the project, with the remaining £5 million coming from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Mukesh Sharma, Chair of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Northern Ireland, said:
“We’re delighted to meet with the Lord Mayor today to check in on the progress of the restoration of Templemore Baths. This is a significant investment for The National Lottery Heritage Fund, which will not only preserve and restore the fabric of the building itself, but seek to uncover the fascinating history and many stories connected with its past. Thanks to National Lottery players, this project will mean many more people will have the opportunity to explore the unique heritage of this important local landmark.”
Jacqui Pope, Head of Service at GLL, said:
“This is an incredibly exciting project to be involved with and we are looking forward to offering state of the art facilities in such a unique setting. We want everyone to lead healthy and active lives and we are committed to supporting individuals and communities to make healthy lifestyle choices. We are confident that projects like this help us to achieve our mission of getting more people, more active, more often in Belfast”
For more information on the Leisure Transformation Programme, visit: