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HLF grants £5m to restore historic Victorian baths in Belfast

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The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has granted £5m (US$6.2m, €5.5m) to restore and redevelop Ireland’s surviving Victorian public baths in Ireland.

The project, which in total will cost £16.8m (US$20.6m, €18.6m), will not only restore the original features of the Templemore Baths in east Belfast, but will transform the partially dilapidated building into a commercially sustainable business, providing the local community with a new 25m (82ft) pool and state-of-the-art gym.

Templemore Baths was the last in a series of public baths opened throughout Belfast in the late 19th century. The heritage site provided washing and sanitary facilities for the families who came to live in the area, drawn by the Harland and Wolff shipyard and other engineering enterprises in the east of the city.

The complex is currently in partial use, with around 50 per cent of the vacant building and in various stages of disrepair. In the redevelopment, the baths’ historic features will be interpreted, and the social heritage connected to the site will be explored and used to tell the story of the iconic building.

The investment is part of wider £105m (US$129m, €116m) plans by Belfast City Council to improve the health and wellbeing of the local community by creating welcoming, quality facilities across the city with a wider regeneration impact.

“Finding a sustainable use for Templemore Baths has been a goal for the local authority, Templemore Users Trust and people of east Belfast for many years,” said Paul Nullan, head of HFL Northern Ireland.

“Now with ambitious proposals from Belfast City Council and money raised by National Lottery players, the baths are going to be transformed into a fitting leisure venue for people to use and enjoy.

“The new project will put the baths at the heart of the community once again, providing a boost to the local economy through the creation of employment and training opportunities whilst safeguarding this irreplaceable historic asset for the future.”

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The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has granted £5m (US$6.2m, €5.5m) to restore and redevelop Ireland’s surviving Victorian public baths in Ireland.
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A lot of the building is in poor condition with the HLF funding used to expertly restore the heritage site