The stow hill baths opened in 1890, were built on the site of an old waterworks. They consisted at the that date of two swimming ponds, slipper baths and a Turkish Baths suite. The ponds were filled and emptied each week. Since that time practically the whole premises have been remodelled and modernised, and was one which the town was proud, as it was considered to be one of the best equipped in the country.
For the winter season following the opening, the two ponds were converted into a gymnasium and dance hall by means of movable floors and this innovation proved more profitable than winter swimming and was been adopted each year then converted back to swimming ponds for the summer season.
In 1923 the slipper baths were rebuilt, the Turkish baths remodelled and the whole of the front part of the building enlarged. A new filtration plant was installed in 1926 by the Turn-over Filter Company. The swimming baths had a capacity of 110,000 gallons of water which was filtered every four hours, aerated and chemically treated. This system was start of popularising swimming throughout the district and with some national press propaganda, the users of the pools increased from 64,650 per annum in 1925 to 79,540 per annum in 1928. At about the same time, the dividing wall between the two ponds was taken away this enabling one large dance hall to be constructed for the winter seasons, and a removable gala stand and collapsible boxes to be erected for the swimming seasons.
Some time later two new Cochran steam boilers were installed to take the place of an old cornish type boiler, and the whole of the mechanical installation was remodelled, including a new Turkish heating system and a low pressure steam heating system was installed in the Assembly Rooms.
Further alterations were carried out in 1935 to form a modern remedial department, consisting of Zotofoam Baths, Shampooing Rooms and Ultra-Violet Ray treatment suites. These services have proved exceedingly beneficial and popular. The apparatus used for the artificial sun treatment and ultra-violet ray remedies was of the latest designs and are recommended for the tonic purposes and rheumatic ailments.
A new Vichy Douche apparatus was added to the Turkish massage and shampooing rooms giving further facilities to the public to obtain the best and latest remedial treatment. Every type of tonic baths was available. Medicated slipper baths was started and a special massage treatment by qualified and experienced masseurs and masseuses.
Owing to ever increasing popularity of the swimming baths it was decided to install additional filtration plant to cope with the increase of the bathers and the news filter was of the latest pattern together with new chemical apparatus, aerator and chlorinating treatment was added to the existing plant by Messrs. Pulsometer Engineering Company, Ltd.
Since 1928 the bathers for all classes attending the baths have gone up to 145,420. During the summer season a refreshment buffet is in operation and refreshments of all kinds can be supplied to bathers.