Picture from AtilatheHun on Flickr:
Another day, another MA project gets underway. We have been asked to undertake a skills-based project focusing on online, audio and video content. I’ve been lucky enough to persuade the lovely people at Victoria Baths
to let me do my project on their fantastic restoration project.
Victoria Baths, Manchester’s Water Palace, was designed by the city’s first City Architect, and opened by Manchester Corporation in 1906. The baths were a much loved facility for 86 years, providing essential things like private baths and laundry services, as well as the three swimming pools and beautiful Turkish baths. In 1952, the Aerotone (the UK’s first jacuzzi) was installed, later to be used by injured miners, Matt Busby’s Babes, and BeeGee Robin Gibb.
The baths were many things to many people – you even got a completely different idea of what they were like depending on what door you entered through – Males First Class is a much more luxurious experience than the ordinary swimmers’ entrance, even today. Since winning the BBC’s Restoration TV vote in 2003, with nearly 300 000 supporters, the building, now in the process of being lovingly restored, is STILL providing a whole range of different services to the city and its people.
The aim of my project will be to highlight the whole range of ways in which the baths are being used today, and to demonstrate some of the ways in which people are engaging with the building. After lots of discussion with representatives from the Baths, it was decided that this approach would be most beneficial to the aims of the Victoria Baths Trust, and most helpful in any future funding bids.
I’ve tentatively decided to split the content into two kinds, using audio to focus on past users / projects, reflecting on how the building contributed to their projects and what it meant to them, then documenting this Spring’s events on video. I’m pretty excited about some of the possibilities, especially the big Vintage Fair, and a visit from a creative writing group. It should all be quite a challenge to my production skills, anyway.
Thanks to Gill, Steve and Leanne at Victoria Baths for their cooperation so far!
Watch this space for more news soon.