[From Manx Quarterly, #5 Nov 1908]
Almost two years since, upon completion of the swimming bath in
connection with the Henry Bloom Noble Baths, Douglas, an opening
ceremony took place, and in connection with it there were some
interesting proceedings. The swimming bath was, however, but one
feature of the whole scheme, and it was always intended that when the
slipper baths and the Russian bath were ready for use something in
the nature of a public function should be held with a view to marking
the consummation of a movement fraught with such interest and benefit
to the people of Douglas. As is well-known, the trustees of the will
of the late Mr Henry Bloom Noble granted the Douglas Town Council a
sum of £10,000 for the purpose of acquiring and improving the
old baths in Victoria-street, the grant being made upon certain
conditions, the most important of these being that school children
should be afforded facilities for making free use of the swimming
baths. The amount granted was found insufficient to defray the cost
of completely reconstructing the baths and of providing a Russian
bath, and accordingly Noble's trustees being approached by the Town
Council, advanced by way of loan a further sum of £7,000, at a
low rate of interest, to meet the deficiency. All the money has been
so well expended that Douglas is now equipped with public baths of
which the town has good reason to feel proud, and which should
conduce not only to the health and pleasure of residents, but should
prove an attraction to Douglas so far as visitors are concerned. The
whole scheme being completed, the inauguration ceremony took place on
Wednesday, July 1st, and it took the form of an oratorical display in
the baths, followed by a reception by the Mayor (Mr Councillor Sharp,
J.P.) and the Mayoress at the Town Hall. Despite the fact that he was
suffering from severe and painful illness, the Mayor with great
fortitude bore his part in the ceremonial, and he received most
valuable assistance from his good lady. A goodly company gathered in
the large swimming bath on the occasion of the opening, the following
being among the invited guests:
Councillor and Mrs T. M. L. Quayle,
Councillor and Mrs A. H. Marsden, and Miss Marsden.
Councillor and Mrs D. Flinn, and Miss Flinn.
Councillor and Mrs R. Moughtin, and Miss Moughtin.
Councillor and Mrs R. Moore, and Miss Moore.
Councillor and Mrs R. D. Cowin, and Miss Cowin.
Councillor and Mrs R. Curphey.
Councillor and Mrs A. Hough.
Councillor and Mrs W. J. Corlett.
Councillor and Mrs D. Gray, and Miss Gray,
Councillor and Mrs G, Thornley.
Councillor and Mrs J. Kelly, and Miss Kelly,
Councillor H. G. C. Clague and lady.
Councillor and Mrs J. Craine.
Councillor R, J, Kelly and lady,
Councillor and Mrs A. Gill, and Miss Gill.
Councillor and Mrs A. H, Fayle, and Miss Fayle.
Alderman and Mrs J. Kaye.
Alderman and Mrs J. T. Faragher, and Miss Faragher.
Alderman and Mrs H. Brearley, and Miss Brearley.
Alderman and Mrs A. Caley, Miss Caley and Miss Clucas.
Alderman and Mrs R. Corlett.
His Worship the Mayor and party.
The Town Clerk and Mrs Robertson,
Mr A. B. Cuthbertson (Deputy Town Clerk),
Mrs and Miss Cuthbertson.
Dr. Marshall (Medical Officer) and Mrs Marshall.
Mr T. S. Atkinson (Veterinary Inspector) and Mrs Atkinson.
Mr T. Cowin (Overseer) and Mrs Cowin.
Mr F, Cottle (Borough Surveyor),
Mrs and Miss Nuttall.
Mr J. M. Cruickshank (Legal Adviser),
Mrs and Miss Cruickshank.
Mr E. C, Kneen (Legal Adviser).
Mr W. F. Dickinson (Legal Adviser) and Miss Dickinson.
Mr T. Cubbon and lady.
Mr A. D. Barron (Assistant Surveyor),
Mr J. Taylor (Librarian) and Mrs Taylor.
The Mayor's Chaplain and Mrs Newns.
Deemster and Mrs Moore.
Mr A, W, Moore, S.H.K., and Mrs Moore.
Mr Leigh Goldie-Taubman.
Captain and Mrs Mackenzie.
Deemster and Mrs Callow,
The Attorney-General and Mrs Ring.
The Vicar-General. Mr and Mrs G. Drinkwater.
Colonel, Mrs and Miss Freeth.
Mr and Mrs A. H. Tyson,
The Clerk of the Rolls and party.
Dean Lefroy and party.
Mr Robert Clucas and party,
Mr Ll. S. Kneale and party,
Mr A. Hill and party.
Mr and Mrs W. J. Kermode, and Miss Kermode.
Mr and Mrs W, M, Kerruish, and Miss Kerruish.
Mr and Mrs J, T. Cowell, and Miss Cowell.
Mr and Mrs W. Goldsmith,
Mr J. S. Gell (High-Bailiff) and party,
Mr W. Radcliffe (ex-member of Baths Committee) and Mrs Radcliffe.
Mr W. Proctor and lady,
Mr and Mrs J. G, Corlett.
Mr and Mrs G, S, Newson.
Mr and Mrs J, Garside.
Mr and Mrs T. Clucas.
Mr and Mrs J. R. Fielding,
Mr T. Hogg.
Mr and Mrs W. Quirk.
Mr and Mrs J, C. Radcliffe.
Mr and Mrs J. Kewley.
Mr and Mrs J. Kelly (Buck's-road).
Mr and Mrs D. Evans.
Mr and Mrs W. Craine.
Mr and Mrs J. D. Kellett.
Mr and Mrs J, C, Cannell.
Mr and Mrs E, Corrin.
Mr and Mrs W. H. Halton.
Mr and Mrs J. J. Kelly,
Mr and Mrs J, Shimmin.
Mr and Mrs W. R, Sansbury.
Mr J, and Miss Boyd.
Mr and Mrs R. Brindle.
Mr S. K. Broadbent.
Mr and Mrs W. J. Corkill.
Mr and Mrs J, Phillips.
Mr and Mrs Mark Carine.
Mr P. Christian,
Mr and Mrs J. F, Clucas.
Mr M. Hampton,
Mr and Mrs W. Kormode.
Mr S. O'Hanlon. ,
Mr and Mrs J. Corkill.
Mr and Mrs J. Kelly (Christian-road).
Mr and Mrs J. J. Proctor,
Mr and Mrs D. H. Rothwell.
Mr and Mrs W. J. Moore.
Mr J. Carr.
Mr and Mrs J. E. Douglas.
Mr and Mrs W. Cowin.
Mr and Mrs F. C. Poulter.
Mr and Mrs W. H. Kneale.
Mr R. L. Cain.
Rev. G. E, and Mrs Craven,
Mr and Mrs W. G. Qualtrough.
Mr and Mrs J. Goldsmith,
Mr and Mrs J. F. Rylance.
Mr and Mrs, T. R. Lewin.
Mr and Mrs J. A. Brown,
Mr and Mrs S. Norris.
Mr and Mrs R. G. Fargher.
Mr and Mrs Canning.
Mr and Mrs A, R, Rothwell.
Mr and Mrs R. J. Grindley.
Mr and Mrs J. C. Cannell.
Prior to the formal ceremony, the baths were inspected by those present, and all were emphatic in their expressions of admiration of the splendid arrangements. Particularly were they struck with the Russian bath suite reputed to be the most complete in the United Kingdom, The swimming bath was filled with sea-water, so translucent that the tiles at the bottom were as clearly to be seen as if the bath was empty, and the day being oppressively hot, the water presented a most tempting spectacle so tempting that many present said they would much rather have had a plunge and splash in it than have listened to the speeches. The Mayor and the Town Council, and others who bore a prominent part in the proceedings, were accommodated in the end gallery, while the other galleries were at the disposal of the general public.
Councillor Joseph Sharp, JP,
Mayor of Douglas
The Mayor, who was received with hearty applause, said: Ladies and gentlemen; the function in which we are this afternoon engaged is one in which we may unite with great gratification those who are members of the public because in the baths now completed a great public need has been supplied; those who represent the Noble Trust because they can see the completion of a most admirable work of beneficency ; and those of us who represent the Corporation because we see fulfilled one of our most imperative obligations as a health authority, In this institution we are also continuing the sound policy of Manx public authorities in adding to the natural attractions of our Island. This provision, on accordance with the growing taste for this means of physical health and comfort, which, while complying with the sanitary requirements of modern times, combines a most pleasing, useful, and healthful recreation, and one in which all, old and young, may engage, The anticipations formed of the usefulness and appreciation of the institution have already been fully realised, notwithstanding the incompleteness of the arrangements up to now; and there is every reason to believe that our baths are worthy alike of the Corporation and the donors, and will be gratefully and heartily appreciated. While later another speaker will more formally express the feelings of the Corporation to the givers of this valuable, property, I may perhaps be permitted to say that in my opinion this gift is one that must commend itself to the most critical amongst the many critics of the policy of the H. B, Noble trust. This occasion, ladies and gentlemen, is, as I have said, one of special congratulation to us all, and of special congratulation to Alderman Corlett, ex-chairman of the Baths Committee; and to Councillor Gill, the present chairman, and the whole of the Baths Committee, whose attention and devotion to their duties are beyond praise; and the success which has attended their efforts is highly satisfactory. It is with the utmost pleasure that I now call upon Councillor Gill to give in more detail the particulars to the Henry Bloom Noble Baths.
Councillor Gill, chairman of the Baths Committee of the Town Council, said Mr Mayor, your Honour the Clerk of the Rolls, your Worship the High-Bailiff, ladies and gentlemen ; it gives me great pleasure to come here this afternoon, and it has also given me great pleasure as a member of the Baths Committee to engage in this work for the good and the use of the town, and for the benefit of elderly people, who may be afflicted by some disease, who requires treatment by baths. Some thirty years ago baths were erected on this site; they were erected in the old style by a company, and they were not up-to-date, They were, I suppose, up-to-date at that period, but were not up to the times we are living in now. Some few years ago, Noble's Trustees offered us a certain sum of money with which to buy these baths, which were then unused and going to ruin, With public spirit, the trustees came forward and said " This is an ideal site for baths for Douglas; this is where they are required right down in the old town, where the houses are old and have no baths in them, and where the people are of the artisan class, and there are youths who require public baths in this position." It was really the best site in the town for putting baths upon baths as nearly free as we could give them. At first the trustees offered us £10,000 to purchase the site and old buildings, and we took the £10,000 and bought the site and the buildings. After that we turned to and found there was a great deal of work to do in a fact, we had to rebuild the baths from the cellars to the roof, and now there is nothing remaining of the old baths but the walls. The Council appointed a committee to see to the carrying out of the work, and Alderman Corlett was appointed the first chairman. I may say that if the baths were his own he could not have worked harder, or gone to more pains, or spent more time in making after the work in connection with them, He went to such very great trouble that we now have really up-to-date baths provided for Douglas (applause), He was backed by the rest of the committee, and whatever little knowledge of building I had I placed at the disposal of the committee in connection with the erection of these baths, I did not wish to take the chairmanship of the committee from Alderman Corlett, but last year he insisted that I should be chairman for this year. I. accepted the office, and I now here to give you an account of the work which has been done. When committee took the work in hand out two years ago, their first object was get the very best advice that they could. After making inquiries all over country, we engaged the very best expert we could procure in regard to the practical working of the baths, We could get plenty of architects, but what we wanted was a practical man who had worked baths for years, We were introduced to Mr Bond, of Leeds, who has had nearly forty years' experience. Mr Bond, I may mention, gave King Edward his first Russian bath in London over forty years ago. He has had the supervision carrying on of nine important and up-to-date baths in Leeds, We thought and I m still of opinion, that we did the wisest thing for Noble's trustees in carrying out this work to the best advantage and in the most up-to-date fashion Mr Bond has followed out his own ideas in these baths, and the other day, when he was over here, he said to us " You have in the Russian baths the most up-to-date plant known in the kingdom" (applause). In August, nearly two years ago, we were able by a push to open this swimming bath. The old swimming bath was a round end bath it looked more like an oval as compared with this new bath The water was differently heated, and the thing was out of date altogether, Two years ago, then we opened this bath, and a month later we opened six of the slipper baths on the ladies' side. This swimming bath is 75 feet long by 30 feet wide. It is a very good-sized bath, and is equal to the requirements of Douglas, although perhaps not so big as some baths across the water. It is six feet deep in the deepest part, and three feet six inches in the shallowest. If you look into the sea water which is in it, you will see that it is as clear as crystal but if you look into come baths across the water you will see they have what I call brown coffee instead of water (laughter). Well, we went on with our work, and during the winter following we reconstructed and modernised the ladies' swimming bath, everything being renovated from first to last, We also installed eight more slipper baths on the gentlemen's side, We added to all the slipper baths hot and cold salt water, and we have also hot and cold fresh water to them. We find that the people appreciate the salt water baths they say they cannot get such beautiful salt water anywhere as they get here, There are six bathers who use salt water to one who uses fresh water, That is something, I say, that they cannot get anywhere but in Douglas, These slipper baths are supplied by copper pipes with gunmetal taps, and the baths themselves are of ivory porcelain. These baths, we expect, will be as good 200 years hence as they are to-day (laughter and applause), I would here like to give a little praise to our Surveyor, who prepared. all the plans for the work, and who supervised the carrying put of all the work under the expert advice of Mr Bond. I think the work will commend itself to you when you look through the baths and see what has been done. Now I come to the number of bathers, Some 65,000 people have bathed in these baths since the opening. That is a very large number, and some 4,000 of them have been admitted free. In addition, we have a great number of members of clubs who come in at half-price, while residents' tickets are issued, and the youths of the town are enabled to use the baths at three halfpence per head, Each youth gets a towel and has the use of the baths for three halfpence, so that if the bath is not free, it is the next thing to it, and the results are, I believe, what we all wish for, I believe there are a tremendously large number of youths in the town who can swim, In the Russian baths, which I hope you will all look through, we have got a very good asset. I may say that the attendant is a man of 25 years' experience, who knows his work, so that none of you need be afraid to come in and have a Russian bath and place yourselves in his hands, for he has been highly recommended to us by our friend, Mr Bond, The instructors include Miss Lane (applause) who has been one of the instructors in these baths for the last 25 years. She has also been giving instruction in open sea bathing, but she is now located in the baths, and is teaching ladies and gentlemen to swim, I think if you look at her robust figure, after some 30 or 40 years of sea bathing, you will admit that salt water baths are the correct thing for health; because she has never had a doctor near her (laughter and applause), We have also three or four clubs in the town, and these clubs have a great number of members, They have instructors connected with them, and I believe that if you pay a small sum of about two shillings you can join a club and be taught swimming free, In conclusion, may I say a word or two about the staff? If you look through these baths, you will see that no cleaner or better baths are to be found anywhere, In the manageress we have a good lady who well looks after the interests of the town and sees to the cleanliness of the baths. I am not going to detain you with any more details, a you will have an opportunity of looking through the baths for yourselves; and will leave it in abler hands to thank the Noble Trustees for the good work the have done with the money which has been expended on these baths, and also in connection with other work in the Island to which they have devoted funds (applause).,
The Mayor: I will now ask Mr Gell, the High-Bailiff, to propose a vote of thanks to the Henry Bloom Noble Trust for their generosity in providing funds for the purchase and construction of the baths (applause).
The High-Bailiff : It is with the greatest pleasure that I accede to your request, and propose this vote of thanks to the Henry Bloom Noble Trustees, I think our gratitude to them for their help in enabling the town of Douglas to build and to equip these magnificent baths should be very great indeed, Since they were appointed trustees under Mr Noble's will, they have done many munificent, patriotic, and useful works in connection with various matters in this Island. But I think you will all agree with me that one of the best of their efforts, one of the things they deserve most praise and thanks for, is providing the town of Douglas with these baths in which we are met this afternoon (applause), Mr Noble, in his wisdom, preferred leaving his fortune to be administered for charitable and good objects by trustees who were coming after him, I am certain he could not have left his money and the carrying out of his intentions in better hands than those of the trustees who have administered his estate (hear, hear). The Clerk of the Rolls, who, I am glad to see, is with us this afternoon, was not one of the original trustees; he was chosen on the death of Mr Harris, and I think you will agree with the that no wiser or better choice could have been made by the trustees than in the appointment of his Honour the Clerk of the Rolls. In proposing thanks to the trustees, I regret the absence of Dean Lefroy and Mr Hill this afternoon; they, of course, deserve our thanks equally with the trustees who are present. I am sure the trustees themselves must feel great gratification and great pleasure at the help they have given to Douglas in the erection of these baths; that these baths which they have so generously contributed to have been so beautifully got up and so completely constructed. I am not going to follow Mr Gill, because he went very fully into the advantage, the desirability, and even the necessity of having public baths in a town like Douglas. I emphasise every word he has said, In a place like Douglas, modern baths are things which we cannot do without. I venture to say that Douglas is now equipped with baths which will bear comparison with those in any other part of the kingdom. It is very hot this afternoon, and I will content myself with moving that we offer the very hearty, sincere, and cordial thanks of the Corporation and the people of Douglas to the H. B. Noble Trustees for their generosity in providing funds for the construction and adaptation of these baths,
The Mayor : I will ask Councillor Marsden, Deputy Mayor, to second the resolution,
Councillor Marsden : I am very pleased that this duty has fallen upon me, to have my first pleasant opportunity of addressing so numerous an assembly, I hesitated at first, but was finally persuaded to take this duty; because I am naturally very bashful, and do not like to speak in public. However, 1 am reminded of old days when I was a boy, and used to go to the Middle School in Douglas, We had no baths in those days, and the masters used to take us down on the shore to bathe. When I go through the streets now, and see the boys coming from their various schools to these baths, with their towels and looking so happy, I think this money that the Noble's Trustees have given to the Corporation has been one of the most well-spent amounts that, in their wise discrimination, they have given already (applause). I also remember, in those old days, when there was no promenade, and the houses were on the shore right away to the old Boathouse. I used to see the people come out in their dressing gowns to have a paddle in the sea. Now we have a beautiful ladies' swimming bath, and I am pleased to know it is taken advantage of by the ladies of Douglas very considerably, As the High-Bailiff has said, this is a vote of thanks to Noble's Trustees for the magnificent gifts they have placed at our disposal £10,000, and also to assist us in finishing the baths they allowed us the large sum of £7,000 at a very trifling rate of interest, We are very thankful to them for these donations, and I have great pleasure in seconding the vote of thanks which has been so ably put by his Worship the High-Bailiff of Douglas (applause).
Alderman Robert Corlett : I do not often have reason to find fault with our Mayor, He has a great many good qualities, and I have come to know them now, so that I have seldom anything to grumble about. But I think it is unfair of him to call upon one to speak to an audience of this kind without some previous warning. It is not fair to the speaker ; neither is it fair to the audience, I think it is worse for the audience to bear the torture than it is for the speaker. However, I may assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that I am not going to inflict anything in the shape of a speech upon you. The weather is beautiful and fine, and the less speech-making and the more pleasure we can get, the better we shall all enjoy ourselves. I join with the other speakers in thanking the Noble Trustees for their noble gift of these beautiful baths to the people of Douglas. I am sure the young people of this town would have had to wait many years for baths if Mr Noble's Trustees had not so generously come forward and presented that magnificent sum to the Corporation of Douglas to purchase and reconstruct these beautiful baths. I am sure that we all admire the way in which Mr Noble's Trustees are carrying out that great trust which has been bequeathed to them. It is not an easy matter although it seems rather strange to say so to give money away (hear, hear). I am sure it gives the Trustees a lot of thought and consideration to know how to spend that great sum that they are entrusted with; but I think up to the present they have done very well indeed in disposing of it without interfering with the sources of charity in any other direction, and I hope they will continue in the future the good work which they have been doing, because it is indeed a noble work (hear, hear), I do think that anything which will make the young men stronger and better equipped to fight the battle of life, and make it easier for the old man and soothe the afflictions of his last days, is noble work, and is for the good of the community. I join with the other speakers in expressing the thanks of the Baths Committee of the Corporation, and of the people of Douglas, to the Noble Trustees for their handsome gift (applause),
The vote of thanks was then put, and carried with enthusiasm,
THE CLERK OF THE ROLLS REPLIES, The Clerk of the Rolls, in reply, said Mr Mayor, ladies and gentlemen, This is the most pleasant half-hour that I have spent for a very long time. It is certainly very warm as someone has already remarked but it has been very pleasant, because I, along with my co-trustees, have been described as being exceedingly generous, and we have earned that praise by giving and lending money not at our own expense (laughter). Now, the work of carrying out such an excellent system of baths has really devolved upon the Town Council. So far as the Trustees are concerned, they have simply carried out the trust imposed upon them, and they have shown by the manner in which they have entrusted the money to the Douglas Corporation that they knew in whom trust might be safely placed, and the result which we see about us today is one that reflects the greatest credit on the judgment, the energy, and the perseverance of the Town Council of Douglas. Through much criticism not to say abuse they have gone on with their work during the last two or three years in the most persistent manner, The result is that, looking through these beautiful buildings as we have done to-day, one can only say he is astonished at the amount of work that has been done for the money expended, I am not in the same position to-day as Mr Marsden. He says this is the first occasion he has addressed you; this is the second occasion I have had the honour and pleasure of speaking from this position in connection with these baths; but since I was here last, large improvements have been made. Amongst other things, a refreshment buffet has been provided, and I understand that after we leave here there is another refreshment buffet for us at the Town Hall (laughter), Now, as the junior member of the trustees, I think it is only right that I should give an opportunity to my senior colleagues, who have had more experience in connection with the trust than I have had, and one of them, whom we have not had the pleasure of seeing before here, will have an opportunity of speaking to you, Mr Robert Clucas, who, I think, spoke on the last occasion I was here, is present to-day. Mr Clucas and Mr Kneale will speak more fully on behalf of the trustees and thank you, and they will express to you the great satisfaction of the Noble's Trustees for the very admirable manner in which the work entrusted to the Town Council has been carried out, One thing more, however, I should like to say, I am glad to see that the baths are paying their own way, and are providing a revenue sufficient to pay interest and sinking fund. I hope the Town Council will always keep in view the importance of making the baths as public and as free as possible (hear, hear), If there is any difficulty, I hope they will consult the trustees. I cannot speak for the other trustees, but I think it is of the utmost importance that these baths should be as nearly as possible free to all classes, If you cannot open the baths for nothing, do it for next to nothing, more particularly for the poor children of the town. I hope that the charge for towels will eventually vanish, and that the youths of the town will not only be brought here free, but that there shall be something to attract them here beyond the bathing, and that the whole place will be made a playground for the town of Douglas, and so accomplish a valuable work in our midst (applause),
Mr Robert Clucas, H.K. : I am going to detain you but a very short time. This room is very hot, and I should feel very much more comfortable in that beautiful water than making a speech to you this afternoon (laughter). But so many nice things have been said about Noble's Trustees that it would ill become me to sit down without acknowledging with thanks the nice things that have been said, I am more than pleased to see the magnificent way the committee of the Corporation have carried out the undertaking of these baths, I do not think that any town certainly no town that I know of of the size of Douglas can boast of having better baths than we have in the baths which we have inspected to-day, and which have been so well described by Councillor Gill. About three or four years ago, I was coming from Liverpool to Douglas, and got into conversation with a lady which is not unusual with me (laughter), It turned out she had been recommended by her medical adviser (renewed laughter) to come to Douglas for the benefit of the exercise of swimming in a bath of this sort, I was a member of the Douglas Corporation at that time, and 1 was ashamed to acknowledge to the lady that we had no such thing in Douglas, I felt it to be not only a reflection on myself and the Corporation, but a reflection on the people of Douglas, that we had no such accommodation to offer to people requiring it, Now we have got the accommodation (hear, hear). When the matter came before the Noble's Trustees, his Honour the Clerk of the Rolls was not a member of the trust, but I may say he is a tower of strength to the trustees at the present time (applause). But when the matter came before the trustees, I recalled very clearly the conversation I had had with that nice young lady (laughter) and I at once put my shoulder to the heel, and you see the result of it. My friend, Mr Kneale, fell in with the idea, and so did Dean Lefroy and Mr Hill also, and the thing was done. I do not know what I can say anything further than this - that we have a brave " shlough " of money left yet (laughter), Some of you may not understand that word, but if they will apply to some of the Manx natives they will get to know the meaning of it. I would recommend everyone to practice the art of swimming, I had not the same opportunities when I was young as the town of Douglas has got at the present time, Though I have been in the old baths hundreds of times, I am not a great swimmer, but, all the same, I can scramble out if I tumble in at the deep end (laughter). I was reading an article in a book the other day, which said that all animals in creation can swim by instinct except man, It does not come natural to man; it must be taught and practised. But if you throw a puppy or a kitten into the water, it will paddle away. If you throw a man in he will go down and never come up again, I thank you for the very handsome way you have spoken of the trustees, and I think at the close of the trust the people of Douglas will be as well pleased and be able to express themselves as nicely to us as they have done this afternoon (applause).
Mr Ll. S. Kneale : I am very much obliged to you indeed for the kind vote of thanks which you have passed this after noon to Noble's Trustees. When the Corporation first waited upon the trustees, a few years ago, and asked them to provide baths for Douglas, it was a request that was unanimously agreed to, We thought the provision of baths was as useful a thing for the town as we could provide. A question did arise as to the site, but the Corporation pressed the claims of the present site very strongly, and it was agreed to, and I think from what we have seen this afternoon that decision of the Corporation was a right one, I am very much obliged indeed for the kind vote of thanks which you have passed, and I hope that the baths will prove a great blessing to the town (applause). I have been asked to propose a resolution, and I do so with the greatest pleasure that is a vote of thanks to his Worship the Mayor for his kindness in presiding this afternoon, I may say I need say nothing in support of the resolution.
Mr W H, Kneale (chairman of the School Board): I have great pleasure in seconding the resolution which has just been moved by Mr Llewellyn Kneale. I feel sure that no words of mine are needed to commend such a resolution as this to the meeting,
The vote was carried with acclamation. The Mayor, responding, said: I thank you very much for the very hearty vote of thanks you have accorded to me for presiding this afternoon. Those who have not seen the baths, I hope will go through them now, and afterwards come up to the Town Hall and take some refreshments, That invitation stands good fur everyone in the place.
RECEPTION AT THE TOWN HALL.
At the close of the speech-making, there was further inspection of the baths on the part of late comers, Subsequently the company adjourned to the Town Hall, and were there received by the Mayor and Mayoress. The Mayor's attack of illness had by this time become accentuated to an almost serious extent, but in his desire to discharge the duties attaching to municipal hospitality, he bravely remained at his post until nature becoming exhausted compelled him to leave for his residence, In connection with the reception, the Town Hall was beautifully embellished with ferns, palms, decorative plants, and flowers, the Council Chamber being transformed into a veritable bower. All the rooms on the first floor were utilised for the purposes of the reception. Refreshments were liberally dispensed, the catering being in the very capable hands of Mr M, Wilson, restaurateur, Victoria-street. The following was the menu:
Sandwiches. Chicken and Ham, Tongue. Ham, Cress, Tomato. Veal and Ham Pies, Pastries, assorted. Strawberries and Cream, Vanilla Ice. Strawberry Ice. Tea, Coffee, Lemonade, Champagne Cup, Claret Cup. Fruit,
DESCRIPTION OF THE BATHS
The official description of the baths issued in connection with the opening ceremony included the following:
The building, which has been purchased, constructed, and adapted by a grant of £10,000 and a loan of £7,000 at a low rate of interest from the trustees of the will the late H. B. Noble, occupies a prominent position with a frontage to Victoria street, The accommodation provided in that part of the building to be used for bath purposes consists of slipper baths, Russian bath, gentlemen's swimming bath (75f t, by 30f t,), refreshment buffet laundry, ladies' swimming bath, cistern rooms, boiler house, and engine house,
A special Baths Committee was appointed by the Council upon the scheme being adopted, and has been re-elected each year by the Council. The first chairman was Mr Alderman Robert Corlett, who filled the position until November last, when Mr Councillor Gill succeeded him, The respective chairmen and other members of the committee have evinced great interest in their work, and placed their services and experiences unreservedly at the disposal of the Council for the benefit of the public in this matter,
The slipper baths are 24 in number 18 for males and 6 for females divided into the following classes: 10 first class and 8 second class for males; 3 first class and 3 second class for females,
The baths themselves are of white earthenware, glazed both inside and outside, each bath being fitted with brush and soap tray of similar glazed ware, The first class ladies' baths have dressing rooms attached, and all baths are fitted with hot and cold salt water, and hot and cold fresh water. Skilled attendants are in charge of these and see to all baths being of correct temperature; thus all risk of scalding is absolutely avoided,
A ROOM IN THE DOUGLAS RUSSIAN BATHS
The Russian bath is of special design and construction, and consists of a suite of four rooms, viz., hot room, shower and needle room, shampoo room, and cooling room, The hot room has special fittings for obtaining any steam heat required, The shower and needle room is of glazed brickwork, and is fitted with hot and cold shower and hot and cold needle baths, and is provided with special valves and thermometers in order to obviate any risk of scalding. The cooling room is set out with dressing cubicles, lounges, and lounge chairs, There is also an excellent lavatory in connection with the bath,
DOUGLAS CORPORATION'S LARGE SWIMMING BATH.
DOUGLAS CORPORATION'S LADIES' SWIMMING BATH.
The swimming bath has a water area of 75 feet by 30 feet, The minimum depth is 4 ft, 6 in. and the maximum 6 ft. The margins round the bath are of good width, and the dressing boxes, which are placed on one side and at one end of the bath, are of ample dimensions, At the deep end of the bath a specially constructed spring diving board is provided, in addition to an excellent projecting board. High dives are taken from the gallery floor level, the handrail of which is hinged for this purpose, A spacious spectators' gallery is provided on all sides and ends of the bath. Two separate approaches have been made to the gallery, and by this means the public can attend entertainments without in any way interfering with the bathers, The ladies' bath is of a different design, and has rounded ends, not being intended for the holding of galas or competitions, In order to obtain sufficient dressing box accommodation, a double tier has been resorted to,
A refreshment buffet has been formed the large waiting hall adjoining the gentlemen's private baths, The catering in the hands of a local tradesman of many years' experience in this particular branch.
LAUNDRY, ENGINE ROOMS, BOILER HOUSE, &c,
There is an excellent and up-to-date laundry, with machines of the latest type. These are driven by a small stationary engine in the engine room, which also contains the pumping plant for filling the storage tank from the gravitation tank, also the service cisterns from the storage tank,
The boiler house contains a boiler of the Lancashire type, 24 feet long and 7 feet in diameter, capable of providing steam for heating all water required for the plunge baths, slipper baths, and for generating steam for the pumping plant, the laundry machinery, the service cisterns, and the Russian baths,
The cistern room contains four cisterns the hot salt water, the cold salt water, the hot fresh water, and the cold fresh water. To avoid discolouration of the salt water, heating is carried out by means of a special copper coil, and the steam does not come into direct contact with the water, Each of these tanks represents a storage capacity of 2,000 gallons,
The question of economical working has been carefully considered, the sections of the scheme having been grouped in such manner to ensure a maximum of efficiency with a minimum staff of attendants.
The ventilation of the swimming baths has been well attended to, the vitiated atmosphere being drawn off by extractors of the pump pattern situated in the roof of the building.
The artificial lighting throughout is obtained by gas, with incandescent burners, In the case of the swimming baths, four large intensifying lights of 800 candle power each are used.
The fittings are of a high class and of a specially serviceable character, The various pipes and fittings throughout are of the very best material, and put together in such manner that any portion may be quickly disconnected and re-fixed, the whole of them being arranged in specially constructed chases, In many instances the fittings have been specially designed for the building.
The total cost of land, buildings, machinery, fittings, and general equipment of the baths will be under £18,000, as follows: Purchase of property, shops, and boarding-house, £8,750; construction of and fitting up of baths, about £9,000; total, £17,750, Mr Frank Cottle, Borough Surveyor, is the architect of and has carried out the scheme, and many difficulties which have had to be contended against have been successfully overcome,
When the Council acquired the property, the Baths Committee consulted Mr C. T. Bond, superintendent and engineer of the Leeds City Baths, who throughout the work has acted as consulting engineer, and has unreservedly given the committee the full benefit of his large practical experience in designing the baths and fitting up the same,
The Trustees of the late H. B. Noble have given a free grant of £10,000, and lent the sum of £7,000 at 2½ per cent, interest towards the above expenditure.
The surplus revenue is to be used in defraying the balance of the cost of the baths and in repaying the loan,
Since the baths were opened in August, 1906, the total revenue received to date, including rent of boarding-house and shops, has been £1,730,
The surplus revenue to 31st March last, after paying working expenses, interest, etc., has been £352 14s 1½d; £82 9s 7d has been set aside towards paying off the loan, and the balance will be appropriated to the cost of the works,
Since the baths were opened, nearly 65,000 bathers have used the baths, Of these over 4,000 have been school children, who have had the use of the baths free of charge,