Sunderland’s First Baths and Washhouse

The first baths in Sunderland were established in 1851 under the new powers given by the 1846 Baths and Washhouses Act. 

In fact, our group discovered that the Council had approached the government as early as 1846 to plead for the establishment of baths and wash-houses in Sunderland, and were notified by the Secretary of State that a bill was then before the Hosue of Commons.  An enthusiastic meeting was held in September 1846, during which ‘the immense benefit which would be afforded to the public at a very small cost to individuals’ was spoken of.

Unfortunately the acquisition of a suitable plot of land was a major stumbling block in the construction of the baths.  It was not until 1850 that a suitable plot was found and purchased off a Mr Robert Fenwick.  Plans were approved in February 1850 and the baths finally constructed and opened to the public by March 1851.

You can see the final site in the plan illustrated above.