Wetherby’s Bath House

Swathed in golden glistening daffodils is Wetherby’s Georgian Bath House, perhaps a little known relic from a bygone. Its golden stone shines in the spring sunshine and its restoration is a considerable testament to the Civic Trust in the town.  Little is known of its history, the first record being in 1824 when the young 6th Duke of Devonshire sold Part 15a of lot 37 was described as:

 “A valuable Paddock or croft, in which is a bath and Dressing Room near the River.”

Sadly the Chatsworth archives concerning Wetherby before 1824 have perished. In spite of extensive research we have been unable to identify the tenant at the time. Although the structure is typical of other similar bath houses in the country but few have survived of this quality.  The bath house is divided into two sections. The upper floor is like a cottage with a room dominated by a fire place, this however was a warming room where you would warm up and socialise after a plunge. In the corner of the room near the entrance is a stairway which gives access to the sunken bath. This bath is eight feet by 12 and has a depth of five feet. This water of the bath is sourced by a spring and is reached by a series of steps in the corner. The bath is paved around and three alcoves are present. Interestingly outside is an oval pond with a sluice which could be used to control the depth of the pool taking excess water and channelling it down to the river below. When the site became forgotten and derelict is unknown, although by the late 1800s such sites were unfashionable.  The bath house lay largely forgotten until the 1980s, when the Weir Preservation Trust successfully petitioned to list the site Grade II. The site was already fairly derelict with rotten roof timbers, and flooring which had collapsed into the pool below. Yet despite this the deterioration of the site continued with the loss of pan-tiles until the associated house being leased to Cheshire Homes allowed the gardens to be developed and restored. Restoration was estimated at £2500, and after some confusion and hard petitioning by the members of the society, the site became accessible to the public and made into a park.

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I was lucky enough to visit the site on one of its open days and found a large concourse of people keen to look inside. However, rather ironically we were not allowed to see the plunge pool below because Leeds City council who owned the key would not unlock it! Yet despite this being covered with

About pixyledpublications

Currently researching calendar customs and folklore of Nottinghamshire

Posted on September 19, 2012, in Restoration, Spa, Yorkshire and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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