Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Take a Dip into Pool's Great Past

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Take a Dip into Pool's Great Past

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID WHETSTONE Culture Editor david.whetstone@trinitymirror.com @DAVIDJWHETSTONE

THE water has gone and the paint is flaking but many happy memories were stirred when Newcastle City Pool was opened for a last time before a PS6m refurbishment begins.

Free tickets for a series of guided tours were snapped up so extra tours were laid on.

The pool opened on November 7, 1928, so has been a factor in the lives of many North East people, young and old.

But it was closed by the city council in 2013 and few would have put much money on it ever reopening.

Cait Read remembered that when the city council finally put it on the market saying they were open to any offers, she was told the best she could hope for was that it would become a nice bar.

Cait was one of the women who became the Reopen Newcastle Turkish Baths group and can claim to be the saviour of the building as a health and fitness venue.

The group's name is the clue to the fact that the Northumberland Road building was always about much more than its pair of swimming pools.

The Turkish Baths below street level were famous and well used - and while there would always be other pools, the nearest Turkish Baths since the building's closure have been in Edinburgh and Carlisle.

Surveying the building's rather dusty and scuffed interior this week Cait recalled how she offered her services as a professional publicist to the group led by Turkish Baths user Joan Hewitt.

"There were about seven women in the group, including Joan and myself, but right from the start we got incredible support and feedback from the public, so we knew it wasn't just us that didn't want the baths to be closed."

Cait and the group first managed to get the building listed as an Asset of Community Value, giving the women six months before any sale to come up with an alternative business plan. …

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