THERE will be plenty of good, clean fun at the next public talk from the Manchester Centre for Regional History – as they are presenting a history of Manchester’s baths and wash houses.
Independent researcher Sylvia Kölling will give a talk titled “’Cleanliness is next to Godliness’: A history of early baths and wash houses in Manchester” on Wednesday, February 17, at 6.30pm.
Though perhaps not immediately obvious, Manchester was an early adopter of building and maintaining public baths and washhouses in the UK. This talk will explore how a Victorian striving for the betterment of the people corresponded with local circumstances.
Visitors will be able to learn more about where, when and why these early baths and washhouses were built, some even before the 1847/48 Baths and Wash houses Act was passed by Parliament.
Manchester’s early baths and wash houses were built and maintained by a wealthy, philanthropic elite with the view to both improve their workers’ lives but also improve their workers’ morality. This is also true for the Manchester and Salford Baths and Laundries Company who built some of the most popular public baths and wash houses in the city. Cleanliness, bodily wholesomeness and thus improved moral character were significant motivations for Victorian sanitarians. Manchester was no different in this instance to the rest of the country.
The talk will take place in Room 307, 3rd Floor, Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University, Oxford Road, Manchester.