Members of Sport Aston were present at the first meeting and launch of The National Historic Pools Network in Manchester on Wednesday 4th September.
Pool Operators and campaigners from across the UK including representatives from Scotland met at Victoria Baths in Manchester to launch the network which has been formed to raise awareness nationally of the plight of many old swimming pools which have either been closed down or are facing closure.
The Sport Aston team were proud to outline to the meeting the success story behind the redevelopment of the Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Centre following recent investment by the University and members of the network will be able to witness first hand the developments at the former Woodcock Street Baths when the second meeting of the network is held at Aston University in March 2014.
The launch of the network had been arranged to coincide with a special event to mark a 10 year anniversary since Victoria Baths was awarded over £3M having been the first winner of the BBC Restoration series. The event which attracted national press coverage included the unveiling of the latest stained glass window to be re-instated, speeches from Manchester Central MP, Lucy Powell , Victoria Baths Trust Project Manager Gill Wright and a Synchronised Swimming exhibition by members of Great Britain’s Olympic team.
Director of Sport Aston, Mike Kirkman who is a volunteer member of the Victoria Baths Trust Management Board commented. “ Sitting in the balcony today and seeing the Gala Pool with water in it brought back so many happy memories for me and sent a shiver down my spine! It is incredible to think that it is 20 years since the ill- fated decision to close this beautiful iconic building as a public swimming facility was taken.
In that time the Friends, the volunteers and the handful of paid staff of The Victoria Baths Trust have done a fantastic job in saving the building from demolition and partially restoring it for public use. The next stage is to carry on with the restoration which will one day see the re-opening of the Turkish Baths and at least one of the swimming pools for public use.”