Victorian pool basks in the glory of its refurbishment

Edinburgh Leisure | Thursday 31st January 2019 7:00am

Victorian pool basks in the glory of its refurbishmen

Scotland's ninth oldest public swimming bath, Dalry Swim Centre, reopened to the public today, (30 January), having undergone a major refurbishment.

June Peebles, Chief Executive at Edinburgh Leisure said: “Edinburgh Leisure, in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council, is delighted to have invested over £1m in this refurbishment. We are dedicated to giving opportunities for people of all ages and stages to lead more active and healthy lives, no matter what their circumstances are.

“Dalry has been serving the community since 1897 and the investment in Dalry will ensure that this venue will continue to serve the community for many years to come as it has done for generations past, whilst maintaining its unique Victorian architectural features that many of our customers are so fond of.”

Closed since July 2018, significant changes and upgrades to Dalry Swim Centre have taken place, with the work carried out by Doig and Smith (Quantity Surveyors) and Smith Scott Mullan (architects) and include:

·      A mechanical and electrical upgrade including wiring and a new ventilation system, which will make the building more energy efficient;

·      A self-service kiosk and access facilities to make it quicker and easier for customers to enter the building and enjoy their activities, thus avoiding queues;

·      The installation of new toilets and changing facilities, including disabled and family provisions;

·      New tiling, flooring and cosmetic upgrade throughout the building.

Wendy Avinou, Leisure Manager at Dalry Swim Centre said: “We’re sorry that the renovations have taken longer than expected and know that some customers have been frustrated at the delays but as anyone who has ever renovated an older property will know, there’s usually something uncovered that requires a change of plan and a different approach to work and this, unfortunately, was the case with Dalry. 

"However, we know that our regular and new customers will be delighted with the extensive work that has been carried out to ensure it is fit for purpose for many years to come. We look forward to welcoming back all our loyal and new customers to this iconic, Victorian swimming pool."

Ian Jamieson, Director at Doig+Smith said: “We’re delighted to have been involved in the successful completion of another project for Edinburgh Leisure and we are confident that the refurbished Victorian Swimming Bath will make a significant contribution to the local community in and around Dalry.”

A hidden gem in the west city centre, Dalry is located on Caledonian Crescent, just off Dalry and around a five-minute walk from Haymarket Station.

This beautifully presented Victorian bath was built as a 7-bay, symmetrical Italianate Villa.  An 8thbay arched machinery entrance with bipartite window above is located to the west.  

Dalry has a real community feel, with a traditional 25-yard swimming pool bathed in natural light, with one sauna on the balcony and a bijou, 22-station gym.

From 1-28th February 2019, new customers purchasing either a Dalry only membership, will receive March 2019 free (t’s and c’s apply). Existing members who ‘refer a friend’, who joins during the promotion, will receive £30 cashback.

Dalry Swim Centre

25-29 Caledonian Crescent, Edinburgh EH11 2AL Tel: 0131 313 3964

For more information:


About Historic Pools

According to the Directory of Historic Pools, which was compiled by Played in Britain, there are 375 historic pools of which 299 are indoor and 76 are outdoor.

‘Historic Pools’ in the directory includes all pre-1940 pools and any post-1940 pools, which are either listed or otherwise notable (and only includes pools with public access).

Of the 299 historic pools, 135 are open:  114 in England, 20 in Scotland and 1 in Wales. 

Edinburgh Leisure has five Victorian pools in its portfolio, which are:  Warrender Swim Centre; Portobello Swim Centre; Glenogle Swim Centre; Leith Victoria and Dalry Swim Centre.   It also manages the Royal Commonwealth Pool, a listed building, which is the only venue to host three Commonwealth Games in 1970, 1986 and 2014. 

According to the Directory, Dalry is the 9th oldest public baths open in Scotland, the older ones being:

Arlington Baths Club, 1871

Western Baths Club, 1878

North Woodside, 1882

Warrender Baths, 1887

Drumsheugh, 1892

St Bride’s Primary School, Glasgow, 1894

Bay Street, Port Glasgow, 1894

Lochee Baths, Dundee, 1895

There are 20 baths of this period in England.

Many of the Edinburgh Victorian swimming pools were part of a much wider scheme to build public baths to promote cleanliness and hygiene amongst the working classes in the Victorian times, who did not have routine access at the time to sanitation.

Whilst Edinburgh Leisure has succeeded in keeping the character of the ‘Baths’, they have added modern twists to them so whilst they have kept their charm, they are able to meet the demands of a modern leisure /fitness customer, which includes modern heating, upgraded changing facilities and meets the environment’s demands where energy recovery is essential.

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