27 March 2024

Restoration of unique Victorian baths

We've started work on a £6m contract for Swindon Borough Council to deliver phase one of a project to restore the iconic Grade II* listed Health Hydro.

On the edge of the historic railway village, the unique building was built to provide Victorian railway workers and their families with healthcare, along with the swimming pool and Turkish baths. It is thought to have inspired the NHS.

Phase one of the project will create a gym and new changing facilities as well as upgrade the pools plant. We're carrying out 3D surveys on a historic tunnel, discovered under the building, to ensure it is preserved when works start directly above. The tunnel is thought to have been used as a passageway for steam to get from the railway works to heat the baths.

The architect on phase 1 of the Health Hydro project is MCAU.

We are really looking forward to working again with Swindon Borough Council. We will ensure this fascinating building is treated with the respect and sensitivity it deserves. This will include preserving the historic tunnel, and accessing the site, which is surrounded by roads, using specialist cranes. Beard is well placed to deliver this fantastic project given our vast experience and expertise in restoring listed buildings and high-quality leisure facilities.

Jamie Harwood, Swindon Director

Subsequent phases and contracts of the restoration project are yet be confirmed but will include the restoration of the main pool and improved access to the pool and Turkish baths.

We're delighted to be continuing our relationship with Swindon Borough Council, having worked on several other projects, including restoring the Grade II Carriage Works in 2022.