Works underway at Harrogate Turkish Baths after safety concerns over damaged interior

Work is underway on essential repairs at Harrogate's Turkish Baths after safety concerns were raised over its damaged interior.

Friday, 31st July 2020, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 31st July 2020, 12:34 pm
The council has commissioned two companies to carry out almost 30,000 of upgrades at the baths.

The council-run venue is described as "Britain's most fully-restored Victorian Turkish Baths" - but its century-old tiled flooring has fallen into a state of disrepair.

Harrogate Borough Council has commissioned two companies to carry out almost £30,000 of upgrades which it said are needed to stop the venue becoming "dangerous" and "severely damaged".

The baths - which is currently closed due to coronavirus restrictions - opened in 1897 and the council took over management in the late 1990s.

The Grade II-listed building has a health spa with a range of treatments but has faced growing competition from hotels and other treatment centres.

A report from the council's deputy leader Coun Graham Swift said the bath's mosaic and marble flooring "will continue to deteriorate" without the works which started earlier this month.

The report said: "This floor is approximately 123 years old and due to the nature of use is now showing signs of water egress, wear in grouted joints and cracks in the terrazzo.

"There are also increasing health and safety concerns relating to the uneven and potentially dangerous surface where mosaic pieces are being exposed, and due to the heritage of the building there is strong concern that the fabric of the floor is in danger of being more severely damaged."

The last significant work on the baths had been done in 2003 with a £1.5m restoration scheme backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A £300,000 project was also completed in 2018 when plasterboards were torn down to reveal high ceilings and a blocked-off area of the baths was converted into a treatment room.

It is expected that the current upgrades will be completed in August.

A council spokesman said: "In line with government guidance the Turkish Baths Harrogate remains closed. We’ll probably have more in the coming days."

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter