Ashton Old Baths Manchester

Ashton Old Baths was built in the 1870’s by the Victorians but closed during the 1970’s and remained derelict and on the English Heritage ‘At Risk’ register for the next 40 years.

This Grade II* listed, and probably the finest example of a former municipal public swimming baths in the North, has now been brought back into use as a new digital and media hub for creative tech business start-ups. This was enabled by using grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the European Regional Development Fund, and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council who are the building’s owner.

MCAU led the project consultant team throughout, designing and delivering the new structure as well as completing all restoration work. Phase 1 of this project has included the complete restoration of the former main pool hall and the entire building’s exterior. Our main intervention and driver of change has been achieved by the introduction of a modern 10,000sqft flexible office and co-working space in the form of an exciting independent free-standing structure within the pool hall itself, with additional meeting rooms, break out communal space, and a rooftop events terrace.

This new intervention and the re-purposing of the building demonstrates how a sympathetic and innovative design and a creative funding solution can solve a modern city problem, where financial viability and heritage constraints were restricting its salvage. The character and fabric of the building has not only now been retained but also enhanced, and the lifespan of this significant building within the townscape has been extended with its previous vibrant life now given back to it.

The unique character of the project has seen demand for floorspace oversubscribed and subsequently we are now on site with phase 2, which is seeing the delivery and conversion of the old turkish baths and public laundry annex of the building. Providing more co-working office space and the inclusion of a data centre which is the focus of an innovative energy efficient heating and cooling strategy for the entire building.