The Buxton Ladies Baths have been through many changes over the years. In 1695, when Cornelius White designed and built the first baths since the Roman invasion, ladies were expected to share the Poor, or Charity, Baths.
Later developments incorporated the ladies baths into the Thermal, or Hot Baths, building which utilized the famous glass ceilings. In 1985 the Hot baths were converted into a shopping centre known as the Cavendish Arcade which still retains original features of two of the smaller baths.
Click the button to hear Janet Byers recount the horrors of the cold water treatment lady.
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As far as the thermal baths are concerned, it had a glass roof, so it was beautifully light. It was the nicest bath of all and it had a semi-circular end to it. My two particular memories of it are that I used to be quite frightened because there was a lady in a white coat who used to man a sort of vigorous, shower hosepipe thing and she used to hose people down with this. I was very frightened that she would come and hose me down because I didn’t understand that it was only when people asked to have this treatment. I suppose it was meant to stimulate the blood flow, but, I was a bit terrified of her. My other memory was that one day the attendant came in and he said ‘We are going to have to let the water out of the bath now, but you can stay in while its going out and that was so exciting because the water went down and I ended up sitting on the bottom step, with my feet in about three inches of water in the bottom of this huge swimming pool which seemed, of course, huge at the time.