Nostalgia: Inside Rothesay’s old indoor baths

The interior of the old Rothesay swimming baths in Battery Place.
The interior of the old Rothesay swimming baths in Battery Place.

Our latest trip into Bute’s past was supplied by reader Alan McKechnie from East Kilbride and takes us inside Rothesay’s former indoor baths in the town’s Battery Place.

Opened in 1875 as Scotland’s first public aquarium, to a design by local architect John Russell Thomson, the building was later used as a home for the Buteshire Natural History Society’s museum, and then as a music hall, before reopening in 1938 as the town’s first indoor swimming pool, with hot sea-water baths to attract those keen on the town’s seaside health-giving properties.

The baths were closed in the mid-1980s and replaced by the current facilities at Rothesay Leisure Centre in High Street, though there’s no shortage of Rothesay residents who will share with you their happy memories of learning to swim in the Battery Place building.

If you have any memories to share of the Battery Place swimming baths, or indeed any pictures of the people, places or events of bygone Bute, you can share them with other readers by emailing news@buteman.com or sending your old pictures to The Buteman, 5 Victoria Street, Rothesay, Isle of Bute PA20 0AJ.