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Chester City Baths

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Cheshire West and Chester Council

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Building Services Design

BSD help to bring history back to life




Opened in 1901, the Chester City Baths replaced Chester’s floating baths at the Groves on the River Dee.  However following a partial roof failure over the Pacific Pool and corrosion of the structural supports in the Atlantic Pool both pools had been closed for a number of years.  BSD was appointed to provide a solution to enable the baths to open quickly but then follow that up with a long-term resolution to ensure the baths could be enjoyed for years to come.


Temporary Solution


Our brief was to provide satisfactory levels of ventilation to the two pool halls, to prevent future damage to the restored building, with the minimum of structural alterations and modifications to the original listed fabric of the building.

A temporary ventilation plant was installed to allow the opening of the pools during the autumn, following which agreement could be reached on the permanent solution and that could be installed.  The relevant planning and listed building consents were obtained.


Final Result


The purpose of the works is to allow the pools to operate across the year in a comfortable and energy conscious manner whilst protecting the newly restored fabric of the building.  The process of installing the new equipment will also free up some available space in the plant areas and remove the obtrusive boiler flues that are overlooked from the adjacent retirement home and are very visible from the front elevation.


The works will consist of the removal of the three boilers from the extended plant area and flues through the roof.  The existing changing rooms will be fitted with low surface temperature LTHW radiators and extract fans to minimise humidity and maintain a reasonable temperature with the bar area radiators connected to the LTHW heating system on a timed circuit.


A new central supply and extract heat reclaim ventilation plant is to be installed within the high level section of the existing garage.  Air will be drawn in from each pool at high level via the existing window openings.  Ductwork will be fitted at the rear of the building on pod supports to prevent any lasting damage to the building.




With the help of a community grant and funding by the local authority, the Chester Swimming Association, who manage the baths, we have been able to restore this listed building and re-open a much loved facility to swimmers again.

Councils up and down the country are closing their historic swimming baths but Chester West and Chester Council are committed to keeping theirs open.  The baths were re-opened by the Duke of Westminster in 2016 but works on the final results and restoration continue into 2018.