The grant will support Belfast City Council’s plans to breathe new life into the last surviving Victorian baths in Ireland. The project will blend the old and the new, conserving the building’s historic features and highlighting its social history. The leisure facilities will also be upgraded, including a new 25-metre pool and state-of-the-art gym.
The history of Templemore
Templemore Baths was the last public bath to open in Belfast in the late 19th century. It provided washing and sanitary facilities for the families who came to live in the area, attracted by the Harland and Wolff shipyard and other engineering enterprises in the east of the city.
[quote=Head of HLF Northern Ireland, Paul Mullan]“The investment will help to conserve this historic building and ensure it continues to be a valued and vital resource for the people of Belfast.”[/quote]
The baths are one of the few remaining links to a disappeared way of life and a time when inner-east Belfast was a thriving industrial community. Part of the complex remains in use but many of the baths' historic features, including the slipper baths and the smaller swimming pool, known as the minor pool, are in need of urgent restoration and repair.
Safeguarding the building
The new project will safeguard the building’s historic features and share the story of the baths and the wider industrial and social development of east Belfast. Seven distinct zones in the original building and a programme of events and activities, including tours, oral history workshops and volunteer opportunities, will help open up its unique heritage.
Announcing the award, Head of HLF Northern Ireland, Paul Mullan, said: “Templemore Baths has a special place in the heart of the local community and it is wonderful to be involved in this fantastic project.
"Thanks to National Lottery players this £5m investment will help to conserve this historic building and ensure it continues to be a valued and vital resource for the people of Belfast for many generations to come.”