Victoria Baths is inviting people to discover hidden nature on the doorstep of one of Manchester’s most magnificent heritage buildings, with a special Nature Scavenger Hunt taking place from Friday 11 September to Sunday 20 September as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days.
Whilst the doors of the Grade II listed building are closed for public events at the moment, this is the opportunity to have some family fun and relish the beauty around one of the most heritage-rich areas of Manchester. Bringing to life this year’s Heritage Open Days theme of Hidden Nature, explorers can walk through an urban oasis of Victorian and Edwardian splendor, with the occasional contemporary twist too.
Inspiration begins in the shape of Victoria Baths, first opened in September 1906 and where the walk starts. The building is steeped in nature’s influence, from the famous lily stained glass windows that light up many of the changing cubicles overlooking the Gala pool to terracotta bees, fish in the mosaic floors and carvings of mermaids catching starfish in nets on the front exterior.
The self-guided walk and quiz will take around one hour from start to finish, with a series of QR codes to be discovered along the way, starting on the noticeboard at the front of the Baths, each revealing a hidden nature themed clue to the next destination. It’s free to take part, all participants need is a phone to scan the QR codes.
Elizabeth Sibbering, Victoria Baths’ Operations Manager, says, “Victoria Baths is situated in what would have been one of the grandest areas of Manchester a hundred years ago, with much of the architecture still intact from the Victorian and Edwardian era. It’s also culturally rich with museums and the former homes of some of Manchester’s famous historical residents are to be found close by, along with some lovely parks, making it a great area to explore. Inspired by Heritage Open Days, we wanted to encourage people to appreciate their local heritage and the hidden nature to be found in urban areas, by taking part in our fun scavenger trail.”
Whether you’ve been inspired by the Nature Scavenger Hunt, or your own encounters with the natural world, the team at Victoria Baths is also inviting submissions for its Hidden Nature ZINE. Submissions are limited only by your imagination and how nature has inspired you; poetry, journalism, drawing, photography, collages, recipes, cartoons, craft instructions, or your own original ideas, are all welcome. You may have noticed nature or the seasons more during lockdown or found a green space when exploring your local area. Contributions will be collected and published on social media and the full ZINE will be published as a digital download on the Victoria Baths website. The submission deadline is Sunday 20 September and publication date Friday 25 September.
Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of history and culture, with over 2,000 organisations usually taking part each September. It’s the chance to celebrate heritage, community and history, discovering hidden places and trying out new experiences.
Like so much of the cultural sector, Victoria Baths has been severely affected by the impact of Covid-19. This has forced changes to its normal programme of public events, with announcements soon to be made on plans for the autumn / winter.
To find out more about Victoria Baths and how you can support one of Manchester’s historic gems visit www.victoriabaths.org.uk For further information on the Nature Scavenger Hunt visit www.victoriabaths.org.uk/