Heritage of Cleveland Pools


1795 : Sydney Gardens opens.


1801 : Bathwick Water Act prohibits nude bathing in the river.

1815 : Financed by public subscription, the first pool (with accompanying buildings) opens as a simple diversion of the river.

1818 : Cleveland Pools first depicted on Barratt's Map.

1817-19 : Hampton Row built by John Pinch the Elder.

1823 : Further land acquired, between Pools and Hampton Row.

1827 : Pools sold to the Reverend Dr. Race Godfrey for £350, refurbished and re-opened to include the Ladies' Pool with its "Perpetual Shower Bath".

1839 : Brunel's Great Western railway reaches Bath.

1852-61 : Upper pool constructed.

1867: The eccentric Mr W Evans in charge of the Pools, teaching swimming and providing ginger beer and gingerbread. His party trick is to dive into the pool from a great height, wearing a tall hat to protect his head. To learn more about 'Captain' Evans, click here. 

1869 : Public bathing place opens at Darlington Wharf.

1875-78 : Cleveland Row built.

1886 : Ordnance Survey map shows main pool cut off from the river inlet, with a sluice gate to the outlet.

1898-99 : Pools close briefly due to the bankruptcy of the owners of the time, Bath College Company of Grosvenor Place.


1900 : Bath Corporation's Waterworks Committee buys Pools for £100 to replace Darlington Wharf bathing place.

1901 : Pools open to the public after some refurbishment, free for a short time. A strict set of rules is in place, enforced by a resident Superintendent, the first of whom is Samuel Inkerman Bailey, a former diver with the Royal Navy.

1904-10 : Eastern extension to lower pool constructed.

1941 : Upper pool used for immersion baptism by Jehovah's Witnesses.

1951 : Ordnance Survey map shows all connection with the river closed.

1967 : Bath Spa Committee takes over management from Waterworks Committee, and at about this time the main pool is given a concrete floor and the semi-circular cascade is constructed at its eastern end.

1978 : Despite a petition with over 1,000 signatures, the Pools close.

1982 : A private company attempts to re-open the Pools, but fails.

1983-84 : Pools briefly re-open during closure of the pool at the Sports Centre.

1984 : Pools finally close for bathing, become a trout farm, then a private residence.


2003 : Now unoccupied, the Pools are put up for sale by Bath and North East Somerset Council, and the Cleveland Pools Trust is formed to rescue them for public swimming once again.

2007/8 - Steering group formed involving the Cleveland Pool Trust, Historic England, B&NES Council, the Princes Regeneration Trust and the Osborne Group.

2014 : Funding received from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Bath and North East Somerset to develop designs, a viable business plan and a Stage 2 application to the HLF.

2018 : The Heritage Lottery Fund awards a £4.7 million grant to enable the restoration of Cleveland Pools to begin. The full scheme will cost £5.7 million and the Trust, having already raised £800,000, will now secure the remaining funds.

2020 : In December the project was delighted to secure additional funding from National Heritage Lottery Fund (NLHF), Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DDCMS), Historic England, B&NES and Salix Finance to support increased costs due to the impacts (delays, restricted working requirements and supply chain shortages and price increases) of Covid-19 alongside the inclusion of the Water Source Heat Pump which will now provide 100% of the heat for the pool and remove the need for a gas system.