©  COLIN BAKER   2007                                                                                       

The Baths Committee first attempted to introduce Cottage Baths consisting of only private bathing facilities, in 1902, when the Police Buildings in George Arthur Road, Saltley became available, their proposals however were severely criticized by the Council, and so the Bath Committee withdrew their claim. Three years later, following a report made by the health Committee, on infant mortality the idea was again discussed and approval granted for the erection or conversion of buildings for use as Cottage Baths.

The site chosen for the first Cottage Baths was in Coventry Street, Digbeth, and was opened on the 1st October 1908; it consisted of six private baths for men on the ground floor and five for women on the first floor. The demand for these bath became such that the building was extended and on the 21st march 1914, reopened with a further twelve baths for men and six for women.

Following the initial success of Coventry Street, two further Cottage Baths were erected and both opened on 29th February 1912, at Brearley Street, Summer Lane, with nine baths for men and nine for women, and at Bacchus Road, Winson Green, with thirteen baths for men and thirteen for women. At Bacchus Road, use was made of an existing building with the bathrooms constructed at the rear of the premises.

In 1912, the Council refused the application for a forth Cottage bath in Lower Dartmouth Street, due to costs, these premises were eventually built and opened on the 29th June 1914.

Further Cottage Baths were erected and opened at Adderley Road, Saltley, on 13th June 1923; at Grosvenor Road, Aston and Willis Street, Ashted, both on the 29th February 1936.

The St. George’s Street Public Wash-house was converted to Cottage baths following the failure of the wash house scheme, and opened on 18th January 1928, as such. The building was completely destroyed during an air raid on 19th November 1940, but was rebuilt and re-opened on 1st April 1949.

A total of eight Cottage Baths were opened by the Baths Committee, which became redundant over the years, with the improvements made to housing and the provision of bathrooms.

Saltley, Norton Cottage Baths