Step into the virtual world of Victoria Baths for a series of online talks this March and April. Taking place every Thursday evening (from 7pm) the first three feature guest speakers and the next three form the Hidden Histories series, in which Victoria Baths’ team will share some of the lesser known stories of one of Manchester’s most iconic buildings.
All of the events are Pay as You Feel, with a suggested donation of £5, and the full details are available here:victoriabaths.org.uk/visit/
The season begins with something for the family audience and takes place on World Book Day (Thursday 4 March), so dress up fun is also encouraged! Twisted Tales for Terrible Children is just that, a retelling of some classic children’s stories, but with extra nonsense and nastiness that will trigger giggles and gasps. Master storyteller Gav Cross will be telling the tales, with his boundless energy and fantastical humour bringing pure joy to the session, which is designed for anyone age 6+.
International Women’s Day inspiration fills Thursday 11 March’s talk, when curator and historian Helen Antrobus shares the stories of First in the Fight: Sunny Lowry and the Radical Women of Manchester. Helen is the co-author of First in the Fight, which celebrates the lives of 20 radical women of Manchester who championed issues such equality, education and women’s rights and who have created legacies that live on today. Sunny’s story is a prominent part of Victoria Bath’s history, the pioneering long distance swimmer having trained at the Baths where now a beautiful stained glass window remembers her achievements and passion for saving the building when its future was threatened.
On Thursday 18 March Historian Sylvia Kölling presents The Evils of Dirt and the Value of Cleanliness in which she will look at the development of Manchester’s early baths and washhouses from 1840 to 1876; a time of rapid industrialisation, epidemics, rampant property speculation and unimaginable squalor. Sylvia co-runs the Cassowary Project.
The Hidden Histories series of talks from the Victoria Baths team take place on Thursday 25 March, Thursday 1 April and Thursday 8 April. Whether you’ve ever visited Victoria Baths or not, you’ll enjoy new stories, places and discoveries from the archives in this fascinating exploration of the building and the people’s whose lives have been woven into its history. The People Who Lived Upstairs will centre on the Superintendent’s Flat above the Baths and the families who lived in this unique setting. Through the Borehole looks at how the water that once filled Manchester’s water palace journeyed through the building. Then it’s all about the social life of Victoria Baths and the Bowls and Big Bands that took place in the winter when the Gala Pool and the Males 2nd Class Pool were covered over (as one of the pools still is today). Helping to trace the alternative world of Victoria Baths will be archive images and memories from those who used to attend.