In 1905, most houses didn’t have bathing facilities in them so Tiverton Baths were built here to improve public hygiene. As well as swimming pools, they housed first and second class ‘slipper baths’ where members of the public could pay to get clean - 2 pennies for a second class bath, 6 pennies for a first class bath and 2 pennies to use the swimming pool. First-hand accounts remember bath water being limited to 5 inches at Slipper Baths during the war, and soap being rationed so that only a chunk of green soap was given to bathers, and any bits that came off the soap in the changing rooms were collected and recycled into new soap.
Tiverton Baths was the site of many formal and informal swimming lessons. One local person has the unenviable experience of having been scooped out of the pool with a pole as a child because she wasn’t able to swim. Someone else recounts getting their chips in a newspaper cone on their way home from swimming in the 1980s. Another bath-goer remembers rushing to get changed so that they could be the first person to break the smooth, still surface of the swimming pool water.
The baths have now been converted into an additional University gym, sadly without a swimming pool, although the balcony and the pools signs have been preserved.